Team

Director

Rebecca Nelson

Rebecca Nelson

Director

Rebecca (Bec) is the Director of the Melbourne Centre for Law and the Environment and an Associate Professor at the Melbourne Law School. As Director, her focus is on supporting interdisciplinary connections between MCLE researchers and other academic research groupings in Australia and overseas, governments, NGOs and communities. Bec’s own interdisciplinary research focuses on groundwater and its dependent communities; regulatory design to address cumulative environmental impacts; and connections between law and the natural and social sciences.

View profile

Deputy Directors

Alice Palmer

Deputy Director (International law, the environment and the arts)

Many of Australia’s environmental laws intersect with laws of other nations – whether through international law, the environmental laws of other countries or First Nations’ laws. MCLE’s work investigates relationships between these laws. For example, how international laws on biodiversity, climate change or human rights, or the environmental laws of other countries, might shape the application and reform of environmental laws in Australia and elsewhere. In this research, MCLE is careful to examine formal laws in social contexts, drawing on creative and critical methods developed for the arts and other humanities to contribute to new schools of thought in future practices of environmental law.

View profile

Professor Christine Parker

Christine Parker

Deputy Director (Environmental Impact of Innovative Technologies)

New and emerging technologies from biotech to artificial intelligence can have profound impacts on ecosystems, other living species and on human understandings of and interaction with the natural environment. In collaboration with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision Making and Society (ADM+S) and the Centre for AI and Digital Ethics (CAIDE) we are investigating the entanglement of AI with environments and multispecies relationships, and the ways in which regulation to ensure safe and responsible A should include environmental responsibilities and environmental impact assessment alongside human rights and privacy protections. Other areas of investigation include the turn to biotech and alternative proteins as a proposed solution to the sustainability challenges of the food system, especially of intensive animal agriculture.

View profile

Cait Storr

Cait Storr

Deputy Director (Property, Land and Resource Rights)

MCLE has a long history of research and engagement in the law, politics and history of property, land and resource rights, in Australia and internationally. This includes research into the often-conflicting interests of the state, the resources sector, First Nations peoples, and the broader public in matters of land use and resource development. MCLE undertakes research at the intersections of property law, native title, environment and planning, mining and energy law, and international law, with a focus on promoting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights within Australia, and a just energy transition globally.

View profile

Erin O'Donnell

Erin O'Donnell

Deputy Director (Rights of Nature and Water Justice)

The growing global reach of rights of nature initiatives has made this a core focus of MCLE’s research and engagement activities. With a frequent (although not exclusive) emphasis on the rights of water ecosystems, this intersects with questions of water justice: for Indigenous Peoples, for local communities, and for the waterways themselves. MCLE’s research excellence supports partnerships with Indigenous organisations, environmental NGOs, and the water sector to deliver high impact research outcomes that promote just, sustainable and legitimate water futures.

View profile

Brad Jessup

Deputy Director (Environmental Justice and Sustainability)

MCLE’s research and engagement activities include a focus on the effect of environmental harms and how communities respond within or alongside the law using traditional and less conventional means. This includes community deliberation activities that sometimes culminate in public interest litigation, community-led environmental project activities, and the use of enterprise approaches to further more just and sustainable futures.

View profile

Research fellow

Kate Jama

Kate Jama

Research Fellow

Kate is a Research Fellow with the Melbourne Centre for Law and the Environment and a PhD Candidate at the Melbourne Law School. As Research Fellow, Kate supports and contributes to interdisciplinary research and engagement across the areas of law and the environment. In her PhD research, Kate is concerned about ways of knowing and relating to the ocean and focuses on technologies of representation and the shifting legal status of the seabed in the context of settler colonial Australia.

View profile