Specialisation: Critical Race Theory; Environmental Law (land and water management and indigenous rights); Indigenous Law and Human Rights; Legal History; Legal Theory; Native Title Law; Natural Resources Law; Planning Law (urban and spatial controls); Post-colonial Theory; Property Law (legal theory, globalisation, indigenous rights); Science & Technology Regulation; Water Law (water and environmental management)
Professor Lee Godden has undertaken innovative scholarship in the field of environmental law, native title law and indigenous peoples’ rights, water law, energy and climate change law, and property law. Her research spans a spectrum from examining the theoretical and interdisciplinary analyses that inform questions of law and governance to working with government agencies on developing public-policy options for law reform in these fields. Her research has aligned governance and regulatory theory with law, to investigate the changing role of the nation-state and to identify social, economic and cultural impacts as legal change occurs. She is the sole and co-author of many widely-cited books, chapters and articles on these topics. Her work has been funded by the Australian Research Council through Discovery and Linkage programs. She is an active Ph D supervisor and research mentor in her role as the Director, Centre for Resources, Energy and Environmental Law, at Melbourne Law School. Her scholarship is animated by the imperatives of community justice.
Law Reform: She has undertaken extensive law reform research into sustainability and natural resource management; including submissions to Senate Select Committees, as well as a range of state commissions and agencies charged with law and policy reform. She has co-produced reports with Federal and Victorian government departments, and contributed legal analysis and law reform strategies to community and NGO groups. Her appointment as an Australian Law Reform Commissioner in 2013-15 reflects her capacity to translate complex academic research to a professional and practical law reform context. She is the primary author of Connection to Country: Review of the Native Title Act 1993. She led a team that reviewed the central claims process in the Act which required interpretation of High Court case law, property law and land tenures across Australia; together with extensive community and industry consultation. Earlier scholarship was an important platform (e.g. Comparative Perspectives on Communal Lands and Individual Ownership 2010) together with participation in the three Agreements, Treaties and Negotiated Settlement ARC Linkage projects.
Climate Mitigation and Forests: Godden’s most recent project concerns the intersection of Indigenous peoples’ land rights in forests, with climate mitigation schemes (carbon sequestration) that covers international law and case studies in Malaysia, the Pacific nations, and Northern Australia.
Water Law: Her other significant research area is in water law in Australia. Currently she is working on comparative analysis of the European Union flood controls and planning laws, room for rivers and ‘soft infrastructure’ concepts and cultural flows.
Energy Law and Transition In this field, her research spans national and international contexts. Internationally, she chairs a group of 20+ energy/ environmental lawyers from many countries which biannually produces a state of the energy law publication for OUP – current topic – energy innovation. Nationally, her work examines the regulation of energy utilities and markets, currently the integration of IT, data privacy and consumer protection laws.
Multidisciplinary: Her research has investigated how other knowledge intersects with law, using theories of knowledge architectures to explain e.g. how scientific knowledge underpins property law. She has actively fostered cross-disciplinary research, e.g. she co-convened a Water Governance Research Initiative designed to develop communication between the natural sciences, humanities, social sciences, policy, economics, law and philosophy.
Chair: Academic Advisory Group for Section on Energy; Environment Resources Infrastructure Law, International Bar Association
The Australian Academy of Law
Member: World Commission for Environmental Law (IUCN)
Admitted to legal practice in the State of Victoria, The Australian Capital Territory, and in the State of Queensland
1. Maureen F. Tehan, Lee C. Godden, Margaret A. Young and Kirsty A. Gover, The Impact of Climate Change Mitigation on Indigenous and Forest Communities, Cambridge University Press 2017
2. L. Barrera-Hernández, B. Barton, L. Godden, A. Lucas and A. Rønne (eds) Sharing the costs and benefits of energy and resource activity: Legal change and impact on communities, Oxford University Press 2016.
3. L. Godden, ‘Trans-jurisdictional Water Governance: Law’s role at multiple levels’ in J. Gray, C. Holley and R. Rayfuse, (eds) Trans-jurisdictional Water Governance, Routledge Earth scan 2016, 21-42.
4. L. Godden, ‘Law and the practices of ‘damming’: Tasmanian Dams Case as a turning point’ (2015) 24 Griffith Law Review 127-146.
5. L. Godden, ‘Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland Proserpine/Whitsunday Branch Inc v Minister for the Environment and Heritage and Others’ in H. Douglas, F. Bartlett, T. Luker and R. Hunter (eds) Australian Feminist Judgments: Righting and Rewriting Law Hart Publishing 2014, 138 -150.