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The Australian National University

Professor Donald R. Rothwell

Professor of International Law
ANU College of Law
T: + 61 (2) 6125 8948

Areas of expertise

  • Law 1801
  • International Law (Excl. International Trade Law) 180116

Research interests

International Law (generally)

International Law of the Sea

International Law of the Polar Regions

International Law in Australia

International Security Law

International Law and Use of Force

Antarctica and the Arctic



Donald R Rothwell is Professor of International Law, and Head of School at the ANU College of Law, Australian National University where he has taught since July 2006. His research has a specific focus on law of the sea, law of the polar regions, and implementation of international law within Australia as reflected in over 160 articles, book chapters and notes in international and Australian publications. Rothwell has authored, co-authored or edited 17 books including most recently Law of the Sea (Edward Elgar, 2013), and Antarctic Security in the Twenty-First Century: Legal and Policy Perspectives with Alan Hemmings and Karen Scott (Routledge, 2012). His current co-edited work with Alex Oude Elferink and Erik Molenaar, The Law of the Sea and Polar Regions: Interactions between Global and Regional Regimes (Brill), is in press. Major career works include The International Law of the Sea (Hart, 2010) with Tim Stephens, and The Polar Regions and the Development of International Law (CUP, 1996). Rothwell is also coordinating editor of the Oxford Handbook on the Law of the Sea (forthcoming, 2015) and Co-Editor of the Australian Year Book of International Law. In 2012 he was appointed as Rapporteur of the International Law Association (ILA) Committee on Baselines under the International Law of the Sea. He has acted as a consultant or been a member of expert groups for UNEP, UNDP, IUCN, the Australian Government, and acted as advisor to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). In 2012 Rothwell was also appointed an inaugural ANU Public Policy Fellow by the ANU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian Young. He is a regular media commentator on international law issues.

Researcher's projects

* International Law in Australia

* International Security Law

* Law of the Sea (generally)

* Law of the Sea in the Polar Regions

* Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf

Past student projects

  1. Alison Pert (PhD – University of Sydney) “Australia as a Good International Citizen from Barton to Howard: An International Law Perspective” (2010)
  2. Angeline Lewis (SJD –ANU) “Judicial Reconstruction and the Rule of Law: Reassessing Foreign Military Intervention” (2010)
  3. Afshin A-Khavari (PhD - Griffith University) “Environmental Principles and Change in International Law and Politics” (2009)
  4. Mark Chong (PhD) “Suppressing Piracy Jure Gentium, Armed Robbery Against Ships and Maritime Terrorism within the Seas of the Malay Archipelago: An Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean Perspective” (2008)
  5. Robert Dubler (PhD) “Crimes against Humanity in International Law” (2006)
  6. Ivana Zovko (PhD) “Liability, Accountability and Redress in International Law: Vessel-Sourced Pollution in the Southern Ocean” (2006)
  7. Hitoshi Nasu (PhD) “Precautionary Approach to International Security Law: A Study of Article 40 of the UN Charter” (2006)
  8. Robin Warner (PhD) “Protecting the Diversity of the Depths: Strengthening the International Law Framework” (2006)
  9. Tim Stephens (PhD) “The Role of International Courts and Tribunals in International Environmental Law” (2006)
  10. 10. Mary George (PhD) "An Alternate Regime of Liability and Compensation for Oil Pollution from Tankers in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore" (2002)
  11. 11. Murray Johnson (MEL (Hons)) “Regulating ship-based Antarctic protected area tourism within the AAT” (2002)
  12. 12. Stan Palassis (SJD) "Vessel-Source Pollution of the Marine Environment: OPA 90 & Its Impact on Liability & Compensation Regimes" (2001)
  13. Justin MacInante (MEL (First Class Hons)) “Compliance, Trading and the Kyoto Protocol” (2001)
  14. Lora Horn (PhD) "The Common Concern of Humankind and Legal Protection of the Global Environment" (joint supervision with Ben Boer) (2001)
  15. Rocio del Moral Blanco (MEL (Hons)) (1998) (joint supervision with Ben Boer)
  16. Nicholas Brunton (PhD) "Turning the Tide: A Critique of the Australian Legal and Policy Framework Relating to Land-Based Marine Pollution" (1997) (joint supervision with Ben Boer)
  17. Stuart Kaye (LLM) "An Examination of Australia's Maritime Boundaries" (1994) (joint supervision with Ivan Shearer)
  18. James Renwick (SJD) "The constitutional position of the Northern Territory of Australia (1993) (joint supervision with James Crawford)
  19. Adijaya Yusuf (LLM) "Australian and Indonesian positions on the Timor gap issue and prospects for the zone of cooperation" (1992)


Projects and Grants

Grants are drawn from ARIES. To add Projects or Grants please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  29 June 2017 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers