Ashleigh Best joined Melbourne Law School in July 2019. She is a Teaching Fellow, PhD Candidate, Research Assistant and occasional Guest Lecturer. Her doctoral research examines the legal status of animals in disasters, marrying her long-standing interests in animal law, environmental law and legal theory.
In 2020, Ashleigh received the RSPCA Australia Sybil Emslie Animal Law Scholarship for her outstanding contribution to the development of animal law in Australia. She is also a member of the inaugural committee of the Australasian Animal Law Teachers’ and Researchers’ Association. Ashleigh is regularly invited to speak at Australian and international conferences, and has been asked to present her research to government agencies and professional associations. A keen writer, Ashleigh has published in US and Australian law journals, and has written for The Conversation. She is also a regular contributor of submissions to policy consultations.
Prior to commencing her doctorate, Ashleigh worked as a commercial litigation and environmental lawyer, first at Allens and later at the NSW Environment Protection Authority. In practice, Ashleigh gained a range of skills, from acting as an instructing solicitor in appeal proceedings in the High Court of Australia to representing the EPA in an inter-agency NSW Government working group. She also has extensive experience as a legal research assistant. Additionally, Ashleigh has taught Australian Constitutional Law and has coached in the Phillip C Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.
Ashleigh holds a Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours and University Medal), a Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Social Inquiry) and a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice. Enthusiastic about legal education, Ashleigh has completed a Graduate Certificate of Learning and Teaching for Higher Education -- for which she received a Dean’s Letter of Commendation – and the Melbourne Teaching Certificate for Sessional Teachers. She is admitted as a lawyer of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and the High Court of Australia.
Memberships and affiliations
- Centre for Resources, Energy and Environmental Law
- Australasian Animal Law Teachers’ and Researchers’ Association
- New Zealand Animal Law Association
- National Environmental Law Association
- Global Research Network – Animals and Biodiversity Think Tank
- Law Institute Victoria