PROF Lee Godden

PROF Lee Godden


  • Academic, Law
  • 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 Godden is the Director, Centre for Resources Energy and Environmental Law, Melbourne Law School. Her research interests include environmental law, natural resources law (especially water) property law and indigenous peoples’ land rights. The impact of her work extends beyond Australia with comparative research on environmental law and sustainability, property law and resource trading regimes, water law resources and Indigenous land rights issues, in countries as diverse as Canada, New Zealand, UK, South Africa, and the Asia- Pacific.

    In 2013-15 she was an Australian Law Reform Commissioner.

    Engagement with the theoretical and the grounded aspects of law is a hallmark of her scholarship distinguished by an interdisciplinary approach. She maintains a focus on legal theory, drawing on her background in law and geography. Her work has appeared in leading International journals, as well as leading Australian law journals. Professor Godden has been awarded ARC Discovery Project and Linkage Project funding, as well as undertaking a number of consultancies.

    She has a longstanding record in community knowledge transfer; a recipient with other project members of a 2007 Vice Chancellor’s knowledge transfer award. Her contribution to environmental conservation and social justice has been recognised by invited membership of leading international and national environmental, and natural resource organisations. Her work continues with engagement in public interest issues such as the impact of climate change on environmental law and water law and economic development for indigenous communities.   


Member of

  • International Bar Association. Chair, Academic Advisory Group, Section on Energy,Environment, Resources and Infrastaructure Law 2007 -


Selected publications


Investigator on

Additional Grant Information

  • Projects and Consultancies

    1. National Native Title Council Cultural Flows: Component 5 (Legal and Policy): L. Godden, R. Nelson and B. Lindsay. Funding $186,000; March 2017-January 2018.

    2. Victorian Centre for Climate Change Adaptation Research: 2012 Governance arrangements for climate change adaptation and natural disaster risk management in Victoria. L. Godden at al. Funding $251,100. Project 2012-14.

    3. National Adaptation Research Network for Water Resources and Freshwater Biodiversity: 2010-2013. National Water Governance Network. R. Ison, P. Wallis and L. Godden. Funding $89,000.

    4. Commonwealth Department of Sustainability: 2010. Workshop: Building capacity among early career researchers in water governance. R. Ison, P. Wallis and L. Godden. Funding of $16,000.

    5. ARC Discovery Project: 2010. Climate Change Law and Mitigation: Forest Carbon Sequestration and Indigenous Local Community Rights. M. Tehan, L. Godden, M. Young and K. Gover. Funding of $305,000. Project 2011-2015.

    6. ARC Discovery Project: 2008-11. Responding to Climate Change: Australia's Environmental Law and Regulatory Framework. L. Godden, J. Peel and R. Keenan. Funding of $235,635.

    7. ARC Linkage Project: 2009-11. Poverty in the Midst of Plenty’: Economic Empowerment, Wealth Creation and Institutional Reform for Sustainable Indigenous and Local Communities (CIs drawn from University of Melbourne, Australian National University and Griffith University) Funding of $745,000.

    8. ARC Linkage Project: 2005-08. The Implementation of Agreements and Treaties with Indigenous and Local Peoples in Postcolonial States. L. Godden, M. Langton, M. Tehan and L. Palmer. Awarded ARC funding of $450,000 plus significant industry partner funding.

    9. Farms, Rivers and Markets: 2008-2012. National Water Commission funding of major water study at the University of Melbourne. Lee Godden was   


Education and training

  • PhD, Griffith University 2001
  • BLegs, Macquarie University 1990
  • MA, University of Melbourne 1982
  • GDipEd, State College of Victoria 1981
  • BA(hons), University of Melbourne 1979

Awards and honors

  • Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, 2017
  • Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, 2016



Available for supervision

  • Y