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About



I am Associate Professor and Associate Dean Research at the Law School, the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney. I hold a BA/LLB (Hons) from the University of Melbourne and completed my PhD thesis on the judicialization of religion in Indonesia at the same university. My research contributes to the field of Asian Legal Studies, with a concentration on Comparative Constitutional Law; Law and Development; and Law and Religion. My research has a particular focus on Southeast Asia, where I have conducted extensive socio-legal field research.


I am the sole Chief Investigator on an ARC Discovery Grant on "Constitutional Change in Authoritarian Regimes" (2018-2021). This study builds on two of my previous major research projects: my doctoral research on courts and religion in Indonesia, and my postdoctoral research on religion and the courts in Myanmar, and on constitutions and the courts in Southeast Asia.

My research has been published in leading academic journals including the International Journal of Constitutional Law, the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, the Sydney Law Review, and Asian Studies Review. My books include The Constitution of Myanmar (2019); and Law and Religion in Indonesia (2014). My edited books include The Politics of Courts: Judicial Reform and Legal Culture in Indonesia (CUP 2019); Islam and the State in Myanmar (OUP 2016); and The Business of Transition (CUP 2017).

At UNSW, I lead the Southeast Asia engagement strategy for UNSW Law. I am also the Myanmar Academic Lead for the Institute of Global Development and in 2019 we hosted the Women in Asia Conference. I am Deputy Director of the Comparative Constitutional Law Project of the Gilbert+Tobin Centre for Public Law; member of the Australia-Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project and the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law.

I am the Secretary of the Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA), the peak academic body for Asian studies in Australia. I am the Secretary and founding board member of the Association for Mainland Southeast Asia Scholars (AMSEAS). I am an advisor on the Indonesian Law Practicum of the Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesian Studies (ACICIS); an Associate of the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society, University of Melbourne; and a member of the Editorial Board of the Asian Journal of Comparative Law. I am a career champion for the Australia Indonesia Youth Association, and you can find more about my expertise on Indonesian Law here.

I have been awarded numerous grants and awards, including the Endeavour Award; the University of Indonesia Visiting Fellowship; and the University of Melbourne’s Kathleen Fitzpatrick Visiting Fellowship. I contribute to initiatives on constitutional and administrative reform and legal education in Southeast Asia. I have worked with numerous international organisations in the region, including the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the United Nations Development Program, USAID, IDLO, the Asian Development Bank and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA).

I teach in the areas of administrative law, constitutional law, comparative law, law and religion, Indonesian law and Asian legal systems.


About this blog

In this blog I focus primarily on contemporary legal and political issues in Asia, with particular attention to constitutional and legal developments in Indonesia, Myanmar/Burma and Southeast Asia more broadly. My approach is influenced by an understanding of ‘law’ as embedded within its social, political and historical context. I also use this forum to highlight upcoming events, seminars, workshops, recent legal developments, and new publications in the area of Asian Legal Studies.

Popular posts from this blog

The impact of Covid-19 on research

Covid-19 is currently disrupting academic publishing in a number of ways. 
There are disruptions to the global supply chain for the manufacture and distribution of printed journals. The following publishers have halted journal printing until further notice: Cambridge University Press (from 25 March 2020) Taylor & Francis (from 10 April)
Some journal editors or editing boards have suspended or delayed the review or publication process for academic journals. 
On the other hand, some publishers are providing open access content for a limited period of time. See the following links from the UNSW library and the ANU library, or select publishers websites such as OUP.  The University of California Press has opened free access to all its journals until the end of June 2020
Hart Publishing is currently offering free access for libraries to its online platform, Bloomsbury Collections, until the end of May. To enable access for your institution, email Hart atOnlineSalesUK@bloomsbury.com

The Austral…

Access to Justice and Administrative Law in Myanmar

Administrative law is an important part of access to justice because it can operate as a check and balance on government decision-making, and provide an avenue for individuals to seek review of government decisions.

In a report sponsored by USAID and TetraTech for their 'Promoting the Rule of Law in Myanmar' program, I emphasise the importance of administrative law in Myanmar in promoting good governance, accountability and checks on executive power. 
The main avenue for judicial review of administrative action in Myanmar is the constitutional writs under the 2008 Constitution. Since 2011, a large number of applications for the constitutional writs have been brought to the Supreme Court. The Writ Procedure Law 2014 was introduced to clarify the Supreme Court procedure for handling writ cases. The constitutional writs are a new area of law and support needs to be provided to a range of legal actors in order to take hold of the potential opportunity this provides. 
Efforts must als…

Professional Legal Education in Commercial and Corporate Law in Myanmar

Dr Melissa Crouch and Associate Professor Lisa Toohey of UNSW Law Faculty are undertaking a Professional Legal Education Project in Commercial and Corporate law in Myanmar (2016-2017), funded by the Asian Development Bank. Melissa Crouch is the Team leader and Legal Education and Myanmar Law expert. Lisa Toohey is the Legal Education and Commercial Law expert on the project. Emma Dunlop is the Legal Researcher and Project administrator.

The focus of the project is on improving legal education and skills integral to the transactional practice and adjudication of commercial law, at this critical time in Myanmar's transition to democracy. The project includes developing a training program for the practical legal training needs of private lawyers, government lawyers, prosecutors and judges in commercial and financial law. 


In 2016, the first stage of the project has included meetings and focus group discussions with most of the major law firms - foreign and local - in Yangon. It has als…