Professor Sundhya Pahuja

Melbourne Laureate Professor
ARC Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Fellow
Director - Laureate Research Program in Global Corporations and International Law

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Languages spoken: English, French, Hindi, Italian

Sundhya Pahuja is the Director of the Laureate Research Program in Global Corporations and International Law, Director of Melbourne Law School's Institute for International Law and the Humanities (IILAH), and the Director of Studies for the master’s programs in International Law, and Law and Development.  She is currently Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge.

Sundhya’s research focuses on the history, theory and practice of international law in historical context. She has a particular interest in international law and the relationship between global North and South countries. Sundhya teaches and supervises PhD students in the areas of international law, legal theory, political economy, international law and development, human rights, development and migration, international law, visual culture and theories of globalisation, environmental rights, transitional justice and international migration law. She writes and speaks regularly on questions of research supervision, mentoring and methods, and in 2020, was awarded the University of Melbourne’s Award for Outstanding Graduate Researcher Supervision.

In 2022, Sundhya embarked upon a major project on Global Corporations and International Law, funded by an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship.

Her current projects also include a book with Gerry Simpson (LSE) and Matthew Craven (SOAS) on International Law and the Cold War (funded by the ARC), and an interdisciplinary research project on The Populist Challenge to International Law, in collaboration with Richard Joyce and Andrew Benjamin (Monash), Rose Parfitt (Kent) and James Martel (San Francisco State University) funded by the ARC in 2020.  Along with Ruth Buchanan, Luis Eslava and Caitlin Murphy, and over 40 scholars, established and emerging, from the Global South and North, she has recently produced The Oxford Handbook of International Law and Development, available in 2023.

In 2020, Sundhya was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences, and in 2021 was awarded the Max Planck-Cambridge Prize for International Law. Her book, Decolonising International Law: Development, Economic Growth and the Politics of Universality was awarded the American Society of International Law Certificate of Merit in 2012 and the Woodward Medal for Excellence in the Humanities and Social Sciences in 2014.  She has been a visiting Fellow at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (2016, 2019) and the Harvard Institute for Global Law and Policy, where she held a Fulbright Senior Scholar award (2016). Sundhya has also held the Genest Chair at Osgoode Hall in Toronto (2018), and visiting chairs at the National University of Singapore (2019), and at the Graduate Institute in Geneva (2022).

In 2014 she served as Director of Studies in Public International Law at the Hague Academy of International Law.  Sundhya concurrently held a Research Chair in Law at SOAS, University of London, from 2012-2015 and has held visiting appointments at Birkbeck, the LSE, NYU and UBC.   Sundhya has delivered a number of named lectures, including the Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Lectures at Cambridge (2018), the Newman Lecture at Yale (2019), the Douglas McK Brown lecture at UBC (2020), and keynote lectures at the annual meetings of the respective continental Societies of International Law, including ANZ, Africa and Europe.

For several years, Sundhya chaired the Committee of Management at the Darebin Community Legal Centre in Melbourne. Before entering academia, Sundhya practiced as a commercial lawyer, and worked as a research associate in international law and human rights at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence.

Teaching (2023)

Research Centres