I am a public and international lawyer and have been working for more than 25 years on the rights of the forcibly displaced as well as human rights more broadly.

I have worked with or consulted to a range of organisations, including Amnesty International, the Association for the Prevention of Torture, the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First), the Open Society Justice Initiative, the Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS), UNDP and UNHCR. I have also consulted to governments.

My experience includes:

  • high-level policy engagement in Australia and internationally;

  • legal research, writing and analysis in academia, the non-government sector and for the UN;

  • human rights-oriented capacity-building and training in many countries and contexts;

  • tertiary teaching at both undergraduate and graduate levels; and

  • legal practice as a community-based and legal aid lawyer.

Outside Australia, I have lived and/or worked in a range of countries on projects both large and small in Africa (Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Senegal, South Africa, Zambia), the Americas (Brazil, Ecuador, US), South East Asia (Aceh, Cambodia, Timor Leste), Europe (Kosovo, Switzerland, and pre-Brexit UK), and the Pacific (Nauru).

In Australia, I have lectured in undergraduate and graduate programs at the Australian Catholic University, the Australian National University, the University of New South Wales, and Victoria University.  Outside Australia, I have taught at the International Institute for Humanitarian Law in San Remo, Italy, and at New York University.  I have also given guest lectures and seminars at a number of other universities in Australia, the UK, and the US. In 2019, I am teaching at Monash University.

I research and write in my field and consult to NGOs, the UN and to governments. I am an Associate Member of the Institute for International Law and the Humanities at Melbourne Law School and have served on the board of JRS Australia since 2010.

I speak French, rather rusty Greek (ξέχασα όλα!), and 'motorbike' Khmer.

I am a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria and have a PhD from Melbourne Law School.

Current Projects

Making Migration Law: The Foreigner, Sovereignty and the Case of Australia: my book, Making Migration Law was published by Cambridge University Press in March 2018. A review of my book by Professor Robert F Barsky was published in the International Journal of Refugee Law in February 2019. For other publications, please see my publications page.

Contributions to edited collections: I am currently working on three chapters for publication in edited collections in 2019 and 2020.

A socio-legal history of the Cambodian ‘boat people’ in Australia: This project builds on my interest in looking to law's past in order to understand more fully present policy, practice and obligation.  It is grounded in a belief that we need to look back to think ahead, that is to ‘make history work’ by using it to think more creatively about how to shape future policy.

Australian civil society engagement on migrants in vulnerable situations: This project is scoping the capacity of Australian civil society to identify and respond to the problems encountered by non-citizens who are vulnerable because of their migration status. The project is assessing the extent to which there is a need for more coordinated and collaborative work within Australian civil society in relation to people who are part of the target population, particularly in the areas of research and advocacy. The project is generously funded by: The Planet Wheeler Foundation (PWF); the Sidney Myer Fund (SMF); and Igniting Change (IC). It is a joint initiative of the International Detention Coalition (IDC) and the Jesuit Refugee Service (Australia) (JRS).

Access to Justice and Technology: This project splices my interest in research and practice.  I am the Founding Director of a social enterprise committed to finding effective ways of using technology to monitor conditions in detention and other closed environments. I am privileged to be working with an amazing team of budding lawyers. At this stage, our focus is on conditions of immigration detention. We have developed a prototype of an app and are seeking funding for the full build, which we plan to pilot in 2020. A link to our website will be available soon.