Nimna Prematilaka

PhD Candidate

I am a PhD student at Melbourne Law School. I research primarily in the field of sovereign debt, with a particular focus on sovereign debtor rights. My interests include international finance law, contract legal theory, property rights, international law and human rights law. I have worked in private practice since 2017 and currently work as a Legal Counsel for a multi-technical services company.

Prior to joining Melbourne Law school, I completed the Master of Commercial Law from the University of Melbourne and the Master of Law from the University of London. I volunteer as a research and policy officer at Towards Responsive Citizens (TRC) dedicated to human rights and humanitarian development.

Thesis Title

Narrative in Sovereign Debt Law and Policy: Telling Sri Lanka’s Debt Crisis from Start to Finish

Thesis Summary

Using Sri Lanka’s imminent sovereign default as a case study, this thesis shows how the narrative of sovereign debt has endowed private and official creditors with unprecedented structural power to demand uninterrupted debt repayment from heavily indebted states at times of crisis despite the devastating social, political and economic consequences for the sovereign debtor. In particular, this research considers how the chosen narrative conceals the structural power of finance of the global political economy and limits alternative possibilities that may effectively resolve sovereign debt crises.


  • Construction law
  • International Law
  • Law and Development
  • Law and Economics
  • Legal Theory
  • Globalisation and Law