Dr Rebecca Monson

BA(Hons I) (Geography) (Monash), LLB (Hons I) (Monash), PhD (ANU)
ANU College of Law
T: (02) 6125 8271

Areas of expertise

  • Access To Justice 180102
  • Comparative Law 180106
  • Environmental And Natural Resources Law 180111
  • Law And Society 180119
  • Social And Cultural Geography 160403
  • Social And Cultural Anthropology 160104
  • Pacific History (Excl. New Zealand And Maori) 210313
  • Anthropology Of Development 160101


Rebecca is a lawyer and geographer with a background in both research and practice. Her research is empirical and transdisciplinary, drawing on critical approaches in law, geography, anthropology and history. Her work focuses on the intersection of state and customary legal systems; is informed by postcolonial and feminist legal theories; and often draws on participatory research methodologies.

Prior to joining the ANU, Rebecca specialised in emergency and disaster law at Maddocks Lawyers, and at the Centre for Risk and Community Safety at RMIT University as part of the Bushfire CRC.  She has also worked at the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, where she coordinated the Pacific program; and at the Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Development at Leiden University.

Rebecca has conducted fieldwork in Fiji, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands, and regularly undertakes professional consultancies relating to justice systems, gender and development for both donors and NGOs.

Rebecca undertook her undergraduate studies at Monash University, where she graduated with first class honours and the Supreme Court Prize for Best Honours Thesis. She received her PhD from the ANU in 2012, for a thesis examining transformations in gendered land relations associated with colonisation, missionisation and the commodification of natural resources in Solomon Islands. Rebecca currenty convenes the Law, Governance and Development program in the ANU College of Law and is a member of the board of the Pacific Institute.

Researcher's projects

Rebecca has published in the field of housing, land and property rights; natural resource management; disaster and emergency management; and the intersection of local and state-based forms of dispute resolution.

Rebecca is currently working on a book manuscript examining transformations in gender relations and land relations in Solomon Islands, and the ways in which local contests over the 'ownership' of land are entwined with state formation. She is also working on an edited volume publishing the results of research examining the capacity of customary tenure systems to respond to climate-induced displacement.



Available student projects

Law and development

Legal geography

Postcolonial legal theory

Feminist legal theory as it relates to gender and development

Current student projects

Caroline Compton (panel) 'Institutional resiliance and incentives in post-disaster recovery', PhD Candidate in ANU College of Law

Joseph D. Foukona (panel) 'Why Land Reform Continues to Fail in Melanesia', PhD Candidate in School of Culture, History and Languages, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific

Bal Kama (supervisor) 'An Ingenious Judiciary in an Autochthonous Constitution: A Necessity or Nuisance? The Case of Papua New Guinea' ANU College of Law






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:  20 July 2019 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers