Caitlin Murphy

PhD Candidate

Caitlin is a PhD Candidate and member of the Institute for International Law and the Humanities. Her research focuses on international law, extraction, and the politics of commodity transport in the green economy. Caitlin has worked as a research associate for projects in Australia and internationally. She is the Associate Editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of International Law and Development, edited by Ruth Buchanan, Luis Eslava and Sundhya Pahuja, and has published in the Journal of Human Rights and the Environment. Caitlin holds an LLM from Osgoode Hall Law School and a BA/LLB (Hons) from Monash University. Prior to this, Caitlin worked at community legal centres.

Thesis Title

International Law and the Energy Transition Through the Lithium Supply Chain

Thesis Summary

Green energy commodities such as lithium are widely embraced as promising a way to leave the fossil fuel economy behind. But despite, or perhaps because of this promise, the underside of such commodities is only beginning to be examined. This thesis inquires into the circumstances of lithium’s extraction and movement from within the earth to an energy storage facility. The project is guided by an intuition that international law may be central to understanding the possible trajectories of the energy transition away from fossil fuels. Specifically, this thesis investigates the legal forms that carry the promise of lithium – and those that are carried by its extraction and use.


  • International Law
  • Law and Natural Resources
  • Law and Development
  • History of International Law
  • Law in the Anthropocene
  • Legal Theory
  • Political Economy
  • Postcolonial Theory
  • Law and the Humanities
  • Law and Society