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The Australian National University

Dr Miranda Forsyth

BA/LLB (Hons)(Melbourne), LLM (Uconn), Phd (ANU)
Associate Professor
ANU College of Asia and the Pacific

Areas of expertise

  • Government And Politics Of Asia And The Pacific 160606
  • Intellectual Property Law 180115
  • Criminal Law And Procedure 180110
  • Law And Society 180119


Miranda Forsyth is a Associate Professor at RegNet and also a Fellow at SSGM in the College of Asia and Pacific at ANU. In July 2015 she completed a three year ARC Discovery funded project to investigate the impact of intellectual property laws on development in Pacific Island countries.

Prior to coming to the ANU, Miranda was a senior lecturer in criminal law at the law school of the University of the South Pacific, based in Port Vila, Vanuatu for eight years. Miranda is the author of A Bird that Flies with Two Wings: Kastom and State Justice Systems in Vanuatu (2009) ANU ePress and co-author of Weaving Intellectual Property Policy in Small island Developing States, Intersentia 2015.

The broad focus of Miranda’s research is investigating the possibilities and challenges of the inter-operation of state and non-state justice and regulatory systems. She also works on the issue of how best to localize or vernacularize the foreign legal norms and procedures. Such norms are often required to be transplanted into developing countries, for example due to international or multilateral treaty obligations.

Miranda also has an on-going interest in broader theoretical questions involved in improving conflict resolution mechanisms in countries with weak states, and also what is involved in the concept of “development” in Pacific Island countries


Researcher's projects

Intellectual property law and development in Pacific Island countries

Miranda has just completed a three year research project investigating the impact of intellectual property laws on development in Pacific Island counctries.  Some of the aims of this project were to:

  • Identify synergies between customary approaches to the protection of indigenous traditional knowledge and state-based intellectual property regimes, to create a culturally appropriate approach to intellectual property protection in the region.
  • Critically analyse the likely advantages and disadvantages of state-based intellectual property regimes on development in the Pacific Island Countries;
  • Identify an approach to intellectual property in the region that maximizes the benefits of intellectual property laws and avoids or minimizes their disadvantages;
  • Inform Australian, New Zealand and European Union policy in Free Trade Agreement negotiations with the region by charting an approach that ensures consistency between its trade-related intellectual property objectives and its broader development objectives for the region;
  • Inform and support the Pacific Island Countries in adopting a harmonized approach to the negotiation of intellectual property provisions in FTAs, as required by the negotiation processes

The outputs of this project are summarised in a document available here:

Sorcery accusation related violence in Melanesia

Miranda is also investigating legal issues concerning sorcery and witchcraft beliefs in Melanesia.  This is an ongoing project.

You can access some of my papers on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) at


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  21 August 2018 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers