The Southeast Asia Law and Policy Forum at UNSW Law Faculty aims to foster and support research on law and politics in the Southeast Asia. UNSW Law Faculty has a wealth of experience in the region, both in terms of comparative expertise, country-specific expertise, and capacity building. This initiative includes occasional seminars and workshops, research collaboration, and trainings in the region including East Timor, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and the Philippines. The Forum is part of a wider network of over 60 scholars working on Southeast Asia at UNSW. 

PhD Law Students
  • Lena Hanifah, 'Islamic inheritance law in Indonesia: The experience of women' 
  • Milda Istiqomah, 'Counterterrorism strategies in Indonesia: Effectiveness and long-term implications
  • Melissa Jardine, 'Policing in a changing Vietnam
  • Bhatara Ibnu Reza, 'The development of the state-sponsored militia as the implementation of the total people's defence and security system in Indonesia'
  • Indriaswati Saptaningrum, 'From government to governance: The politics of Indonesia's digital content policies post 2008'
  • Chuhunvoleak Srun, Court Reform in Cambodia
  • Ashraful Azad, Irregular Migration of Rohingya Refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh to Malaysia
  • Luke Potter, Local Government Authorities and Durable Solutions to Protect Against Disaster Displacement risk in Small Island Developing States in the Pacific

Key Projects

1. Women in Asia Conference 2019

With the Institute of Global Development, UNSW is hosting the 12th Women in Asia Conference in June 2019. This event is organised by Melissa Crouch, Felix Tan, Louise Edwards, Tanya Jakimow, Minako Sakai and Carmen Leong. More details are available here.

2. Professional Legal Education in Commercial and Corporate Law in Myanmar

This project involves a team that is led by Melissa Crouch (2016-2019) and is funded by the Asian Development Bank. The focus of the project is on improving legal education and skills integral to the transactional practice and adjudication of commercial law. 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. 

3. Australia-Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project

The Australia Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project began in 2013 as a joint enterprise of a number of Law Schools: including the University of Sydney; the University of New South Wales (UNSW); the ANU. UNSW is currently the institution responsible for the Project. The Project aims to directly increase the capacity of local actors to participate positively in the process of constitutional reform in Myanmar. It will do this by expanding the constitutional vocabulary of different groups within society (ethnic communities, grass-roots organisations, political leaders, members of the media) so that they can contribute to political discourse. In the long term, the Project’s objective is to expand the democratic political space during a critical time in Myanmar’s transition towards constitutional democracy. The Project aims to support increased constitutional stability, leading to an environment where there is greater prospect for peaceful and equitable development. The Project also strengthens linkages and networks between scholars and members of civil society in Myanmar and Australia. The Project has held 10 workshops since 2013 in various locations in Myanmar. Past sponsors of the Project include Rotary Australia; the Australian embassy in Yangon; Konrad Adenaur Stiftung; the University of Sydney; the University of New South Wales; the Australian National University; the National University of Singapore; KOICA and the Community of Democracies.

The Project Team includes  Martin Krygier, Theunis Roux;  Melissa Crouch; Adam Czarnota, with Catherine Renshaw (ACU) and Wojciech Sadurski, University of Sydney.

4. UNSW Southeast Asian Law Reading Group

(meets regularly during term)

5. UNSW ASEAN Society

A student-run society at UNSW focused on promoting knowledge on ASEAN

6. The Diplomacy Training Program

7. AustLII

The Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII), which operates the Asian Legal Information Institute (AsianLII) and provides free access to legislation, case law and other legal information from all Asian countries. 

Upcoming events

Women in Asia Conference 2019
Learn more
China's Presence in Mainland Southeast Asia Today

Learn more


Workshop: UNSW Myanmar Development and Research Forum, Yangon
5 February 2019

Workshop on ‘The Law and Politics of Elections in Indonesia’
Date: 10 December 2018, at UNSW Law

Workshop on 'Constitutions and Peace Processes: Comparative Reflections from Asia'.
6-7 December 2018, at UNSW Law

Seminar: Why Religious Supremacy Clauses Don’t Work, Dr Ben Schonthal
Date: 6 July 2018

Workshop on 'Courts, Power and Legal Process in Indonesia: The Legacy of Dan S Lev'.
2 July 2018 

Seminar on 'Explaining Myanmar's Hluttaw 2011-2016' by Dr Chit Win
Date:  11 December 2017

Roundtable discussion: "Indonesia's Election Supervisory Board: Working Towards Election Integrity". Guest speaker: Dr Fritz Edward Siregar, member of the Indonesian Elections Supervisory Board
Date: 29 June 2017

Seminar: Dr Thant on Publication Trends and Books in Myanmar
 3 March 2017

Seminar: What is Buddhist Constitutionalism? Dr Ben Schonthal
13 September 2016.

Seminar: The Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) and The Australia-Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project invite you to the launch of Myanmar/Burma Databases on AsianLII. 
Date:  23 May 2016. At the launch of the database, a  guide on how to use the Myanmar/Burma online law database  at AsianLII was also released and is available  online .

Seminar and Book Launch: The Future for Myanmar’s Muslims: Implications for Australia and the Region.
  6 April 2016

Workshop on The Business of Transition: Law Reform, Economics and Development in Myanmar
Date:  27  November 2015

Myanmar’s Elections November 2015: Forward to Democracy or Back to Militocracy?
Panel: Associate Professor Sean Turnell, Macquarie University  Dr Nicholas Farrelly, Director of the Myanmar Research Centre, ANU  Dr Melissa Crouch, Law Faculty, UNSW 
Listen to the podcast here.
Date:  19 October 2015 

Contact Details:

For more information on the Forum or to be included on the email list, please contact Melissa Crouch