Emerita Professor Margaret Thornton

BA(Hons) (Syd); LLB (UNSW); LLM (Yale); FASSA; FAAL
Professor of Law and ANU Public Policy Fellow
ANU College of Law
T: 0261258363

Areas of expertise

  • Legal Practice, Lawyering And The Legal Profession 180121
  • Higher Education 130103
  • Law And Society 180119

Research interests

Discrimination Law Feminist Legal Theory Legal ProfessionLegal Education and the Corporatisation of Universities


MARGARET THORNTON is an Emerita Professor of Law at the Australian National University in Canberra. She has degrees from Sydney, UNSW and Yale, and is a Barrister of the Supreme Court of NSW and the High Court of Australia. She formerly occupied the Richard McGarvie Chair of Socio-Legal Studies at La Trobe University and has held visiting fellowships at Oxford, London, Columbia, Sydney and York, Canada. She has published extensively on issues relating to women and the law, including the only book-length study of women and the legal profession in Australia: Dissonance and Distrust: Women and the Legal Profession, Oxford 1996 (also published in Chinese by the Law Press, Beijing, 2001). Other books include The Liberal Promise: Anti-Discrimination Legislation in Australia(Oxford, 1990), Privatising the Public University: The Case of Law (Routledge, 2012) and Land the Quest for Gender Equality (ANU Press, 2023). Her current research project entails a study of the new ways of practising law with regard to gender, professionalism and technology. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and a Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.

Researcher's projects

2012-2018: ARC Discovery Project. 'Balancing Law and Life' 

2006-2012: 'ARC Discovery Project EEO in a Culture of Uncertainty' (ARC Professorial Fellowship)

2020-21: Thornton, Allen & Blackham, 'Using transparency to achieve equality', ASSA

Current student projects

PhD: Nilanka Goonetillake: Pay anc conditions of junior lawyers - rethinking the role of lawyers in their early career

PhD: Emma Graham: Maternity discrimination resulting in job loss: examining the role of labour laws

PhD: Li Zhuoyu: The Family Status Discrimination Ordinance in Hong Kong: Are we closer to work-family reconciliation?

PhD: Su Robertson, Clinical legal education, the benchmark lawyer and disruptive women



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:  23 June 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers