Research in the legal field can take you anywhere in the world, pushing the boundaries of legal knowledge and playing an active role in advancing legal disciplines across policy, practice, theory and more.

In 1857, the University of Melbourne established Australia's first law course. Since then, University law graduates have become prime ministers, governors-general, judges, lawyers and academics.

Today, Melbourne Law School (MLS) is a thriving community with a global reputation for excellence. We have more than 90 academic staff members and host more than 170 visiting scholars from Australia and around the world each year.

This means you’ll have access to the world’s best legal minds in your area of interest and you’ll be well supported to achieve your goals.

As a graduate researcher, you’ll contribute to growing knowledge through your own self-directed research. You’ll receive research training of the highest quality and become part of an international legal research community, expanding your networks, and increasing your exposure to high-quality legal research.

Explore our research

Melbourne Law School offers expertise in a wide range of research areas. In fact, we have one of the broadest offerings in the world, including, but not limited to:

  • Administrative law
  • Asian law
  • Constitutional law and comparative constitutional law
  • Corporate law and commercial law
  • Criminal law
  • Employment law and labour law
  • Environmental and energy law
  • Health law
  • Human rights law
  • Indigenous law and justice
  • International law
  • Private law
  • Technology and intellectual property

Research centres and institutes

Melbourne Law School hosts many research centres and institutes. As a graduate researcher, you’ll have access to centres including:

Learn how we're making a difference

We play an active role in advocating for justice and the human rights of all people in Australia, and we strive to ensure that the nation's legal framework protects the interests of minority groups.

For example, we’ve worked with the Fair Work Ombudsman to protect  vulnerable workers. Together, we have implemented a proactive model that model helps track down employers who underpay or exploit their workers.

Outside of Australia, University researchers are also advocating for justice and human rights for international communities. Current research projects explore different aspects of statelessness, including understanding the challenges facing nomadic people and statelessness in the Asia-Pacific region.

We’re also working hard to protect the environment.

Climate change is an urgent environmental problem that requires a rapid transition to  clean energy. But governments are slow and cautious about changing regulations to reduce emissions, so environmental advocates are turning to courts to mount ambitious climate litigation.

They want to block fossil fuel use and force planners to consider climate change impacts. University researchers analysed the capacity of climate litigation to influence energy regulation, which means that litigation can help put nations on the path to a clean energy future.

Collaborate with other disciplines

As a law researcher, you can work with researchers from other disciplines. Engaging with experts outside your field can help you reflect on the world in different ways. Depending on the topic, you might work with experts from areas like health, economics or education.

Interdisciplinary initiatives and institutes that relate to law include:

Graduate researchers also have access to many other interdisciplinary research opportunities across the University, including PhD Programs.

Work in a stimulating environment

The Law Library has one of the best law collections in Australia. Here, you can access printed volumes, rare legal texts and online databases. The library is also available to graduate researchers as a study space, there are study carrels and group discussion rooms that can accommodate both individual and group work.

Melbourne Law School hosts research events and programs throughout the year. These forums are a great way to connect with other graduate researchers and to learn from talented staff and visiting scholars.

These events include:

Learn about other ways we can support you.

Next steps

Banner image: Getting Images