Professor Fleur Johns

BA, LLB (Hons), Melbourne

LLM, SJD, Harvard

Fleur Johns is Professor in the Faculty of Law & Justice at UNSW Sydney, working in the areas of public international law, legal theory, and law and technology. A graduate of Harvard Law School (LLM, SJD, Menzies Scholar, Laylin Prize) and Melbourne University (BA/LLB (Hons)), Fleur studies emergent patterns of governance on the global plane and their social, political and economic implications. In 2021, Fleur commenced a four-year Australian Research Council Future Fellowship working on a project entitled 'Diplomatic Knowledge, Disasters and the Future of International Legal Order'. In 2021-2022, Fleur will be a Visiting Professor at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. Fleur is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

Fleur's recent work has focused on the role of automation and digital technology in global legal relations, especially in development, humanitarian aid and disaster relief. She is currently leading an Australian Research Council-funded project entitled 'Data Science in Humanitarianism: Confronting Novel Law and Policy Challenges': see here for details. Fleur is the author of Non-Legality in International Law: Unruly Law (Cambridge, 2013) and The Mekong: A Socio-legal Approach to River Basin Development (co-authored with Ben Boer, Philip Hirsch, Ben Saul & Natalia Scurrah, Routledge 2016). Fleur is also editor of two further books: Events: The Force of International Law (Routledge-Cavendish, 2011; co-edited with Richard Joyce and Sundhya Pahuja); and International Legal Personality (Ashgate, 2010); as well as having authored articles in journals in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe. 

Before joining UNSW, Fleur was Co-Director of the Sydney Centre for International Law at the University of Sydney. She has also held visiting appointments in Canada (the University of Toronto), the UK (the LSE), Europe (the EUI), and the US (the Institute for Advanced Study). Prior to entering academia, Fleur practised corporate law in New York, specialising in international project finance in Latin America, and she remains admitted to practice at the New York Bar. She has served on a range of not-for-profit boards and management committees and on several editorial boards; she currently serves on the Editorial Boards of the following journals – American Journal of International Law and Technology and Regulation – as well as being an Advisory Editor for the London Review of International Law and the Australian Feminist Law Journal and a member of the Editorial Committee for the Routledge Book Series: Politics of Transnational Law.

Fleur has three school-aged children and worked part-time (approximately half-time) between 2005 and 2013.

Fleur's full CV may be downloaded here.


Boer B; Johns F; Saul B; Scurrah N, 2016, The Mekong: A Socio-Legal Approach to River Basin Development, Taylor & Francis Group,

Johns FE, 2013, Non-Legality in International Law: Unruly Law, Cambridge University Press, UK,

Edited Books

Johns FE; Pahuja S; Joyce R, (eds.), 2010, Events: The Force of International Law, Routledge, Abingdon, New York,

Johns F, (ed.), 2010, International Legal Personality., Routledge (formerly Ashgate), UK,

Journal articles

Johns F, 2021, 'Disciplinary Privilege and the Promise of Decampment: A Response to James Thuo Gathii's 'The Promise of International Law: A Third World View'', Proceedings of the American Society of International Law at its annual meeting, vol. 114, pp. 23 - 27,

Johns F, 2021, 'Governance by Data', Annual Review of Law and Social Science, vol. 17,

Johns F, 2021, 'Afterword: The Sovereignty Deficit', International Journal Of Constitutional Law, vol. 19, pp. 1 - 7,

Johns F; Compton C, 2020, 'Data Jurisdictions and Rival Regimes of Algorithmic Regulation', Regulation and Governance, pp. 1 - 22,

Fourcade M; Johns F, 2020, 'Loops, ladders and links: the recursivity of social and machine learning', Theory and Society, vol. 49, pp. 803 - 832,

Johns F, 2019, 'War Without Words', AJIL Unbound, vol. 113, pp. 67 - 70,

Johns F, 2019, 'From Planning to Prototypes: New Ways of Seeing Like a State', The Modern Law Review, vol. 82, pp. 833 - 863,

Valverde M; Johns F; Raso J, 2018, 'Governing Infrastructure in the Age of the "Art of the Deal"', PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review, vol. 41, pp. 118 - 132,

Johns F, 2017, 'Data, detection, and the redistribution of the sensible in international law', American Journal of International Law, vol. 111, pp. 57 - 103,

Johns FE, 2017, 'Data Territories: Changing Architectures of Association in International Law', Netherlands Yearbook of International Law, vol. 47, pp. 107 - 129,

Johns FE; Riles A, 2017, 'Beyond Bunker and Vaccine: The DNC Hack as a Conflict of Laws Issue', AJIL Unbound, vol. 110, pp. 347 - 351,

Johns F, 2016, 'The temporal rivalries of human rights', Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, vol. 23, pp. 39 - 60,

Johns FE, 2015, 'Starting and Stopping Points: A Response to Gadinis', AJIL Unbound, vol. 109, pp. 39 - 43

Johns F, 2015, 'Global governance through the pairing of list and algorithm', Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, vol. 33, pp. 126 - 149,

Johns FE, 2015, 'On Failing Forward: Neoliberal Legality in the Mekong River Basin', Cornell International Law Journal, vol. 48, pp. 347 - 383

Johns F, 2014, 'Author's Response', Leiden Journal of International Law, vol. 27, pp. 966 - 970,

Johns F, 2013, 'The deluge', London Review of International Law, vol. 1, pp. 9 - 34,

Johns F, 2011, 'Financing as governance', Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, vol. 31, pp. 391 - 415,

Johns FE; Saul B; Hirsch P; Stephens T; Boer B, 2010, 'Law And The Mekong River Basin: A Socio-Legal Research Agenda On The Role Of Hard And Soft Law In Regulating Transboundary Water Resources', Melbourne Journal of International Law, vol. 11, pp. 154 - 174

Johns FE, 2009, 'International Legal Theory: Snapshots from a Decade of International Legal Life', Melbourne Journal of International Law, vol. 10, pp. 1 - 10

Johns FE, 2008, 'Performing Party Autonomy', Law and Contemporary Problems, vol. 71, pp. 243 - 271

Johns F, 2007, 'Performing power: The deal, corporate rule, and the constitution of global legal order', Journal of Law and Society, vol. 34, pp. 116 - 138,

Johns F; Freeland S, 2007, 'Teaching international law across an urban divide: Reflections on an improvisation', Journal of Legal Education, vol. 57, pp. 539 - 561

Johns FE, 2005, 'Human Rights in the High Court of Australia, 1976-2003', Federal Law Review, vol. 33, pp. 287 - 331

Johns F, 2005, 'Private Law, public landscape: troubling the grid', Law Text Culture, vol. 9, pp. 60 - 90

Johns F, 2005, 'Guantánamo Bay and the annihilation of the exception', European Journal of International Law, vol. 16, pp. 613 - 635,

Johns FE, 2004, 'Address: On Writing Dangerously', The Sydney Law Review, vol. 26, pp. 473 - 480

Johns FE, 2004, 'The madness of migration: Disquiet in the international law relating to refugees', International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, vol. 27, pp. 587 - 607,

Johns FE, 2004, 'Global governance: An heretical history play', Global Jurist Advances, vol. 4, pp. 1 - 49,

Johns FE, 1995, 'Portrait of the Artist as a White Man: The International Law of Human Rights and Aboriginal Culture', Australian Yearbook of International Law, vol. 16, pp. 175 - 197

Johns FE, 1994, 'The Invisibility of the Transnational Corporation: An Analysis of International Law and Legal Theory', Melbourne University Law Review, vol. 19, pp. 893 - 923

Book Chapters

Johns F, 2021, 'On Dead Circuits and Non-Events', in Venzke I; Heller KJ (ed.), Contingency in International Law: On the Possibility of a Different Law, Oxford University Press, Oxford

Johns F, 2021, 'Critical International Legal Theory', in Dunoff J; Pollack M (ed.), International Legal Theory: Foundations and Frontiers, Cambridge University Press, New York,

Johns F, 2020, 'Counting, countering and claiming the pandemic: digital practices, players, policies', in Taylor L; Sharma G; Martin A; Jameson S (ed.), Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives, Meatspace Press, Oxford, pp. 90 - 99,

Johns F, 2020, 'Shadowboxing: the Data Shadows of Cold War International Law', in Craven M; Pahuja S; Simpson G (ed.), International Law and the Cold War, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 137 - 158,

Johns F, 2019, 'Legality', in d'Aspremont J; Singh S (ed.), Concepts for International Law: Contributions to Disciplinary Thought, Edward Elgar, pp. 636 - 649,

Johns F, 2018, 'Things to Make and Do', in Hohmann J; Joyce D (ed.), International Law's Objects, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 47 - 56

Chan J; Johns F; Bennett Moses L, 2018, 'Academic Metrics and Positioning Strategies', in Ajana B (ed.), Metric Culture Ontologies of Self-Tracking Practices, Emerald Group Publishing, Bingley UK, pp. 177 - 195,

Johns FE, 2017, 'Data Mining as Global Governance', in Brownsword R; Scotford E; Yeung K (ed.), Oxford Handbook on the Law and Regulation of Technology, Oxford University Press,

Johns FE, 2016, 'Theorizing the Corporation in International Law', in Orford A; Hoffmann F (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Theory of International Law, Oxford University Press, online

Johns FE, 2012, 'Living in International Law', in Buchanan R; Motha S; Pahuja S (ed.), Reading Modern Law, Routledge, pp. 74 - 86,

Johns F, 2011, 'The torture memos', in Johns F; Joyce R; Pahuja S (ed.), Events: The force of International Law, Taylor & Francis, pp. 260 - 278,

Johns F; Joyce R; Pahuja S, 2011, 'Introduction', in Johns F; Joyce R; Pahuja S (ed.), Events: The Force of International Law, Routledge, UK, pp. 1 - 17,

Johns FE, 2010, 'The Gift of Realism: Julius Stone and the International Legal Academy in Australia, 1954-1994', in Irving H; Walton K; Mowbray J (ed.), Julius Stone: A Study in Influence, pp. 21 - 37

Johns FE, 2010, 'Introduction', in Johns FE (ed.), International Legal Personality, Ashgate Publishing, pp. i - xxix

Johns FE, 2007, 'Performing Power: The Deal, Corporate Rule, and the Constitution of Global Legal Order', in Motha S (ed.), Democracy's Empire Sovereignty, Law, and Violence, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 116 - 138

Johns FE, 2005, 'International Law-National Law: Thinking through the Hyphen', in Charlesworth H; Chiam M; Hovell D; Williams G (ed.), The Fluid State International Law and National Legal Systems, Federation Press, pp. 188 - 209

Johns FE, 2005, 'The Globe and the Ghetto', in Lederer M; Muller P (ed.), Criticizing Global Governance, Springer, ebook, pp. 69 - 102,


Bennett Moses L; Johns F; Land L; Vaile D; Zalnieriute M; Yastreboff M; Zhao S; de Sousa T; Whitty M, 2021, Submission into Inquiry into Data Availability and Transparency (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2020,

Bennett Moses L; Churches G; Johns F; Parnaby L; Zalnieriute M, 2020, Submission to National Data Commissioner, Data Availability and Transparency Bill 2020,

Johns F; Compton C; Zalnieriute M; Bennett Moses L; McAdam J; Goodwin-Gill G, 2019, Submission to the UNHCR’s Global Virtual Summit on Digital Identity for Refugees ‘Envisioning a digital identity ecosystem in support of the Global Compact on Refugees’,

Bennett Moses L; Buckley R; Johns F; Greenleaf G; Kemp K; De Leeuw M; Manwaring K; Maurushat A; Zalnieriute M, 2018, Response to Issues Paper on Data Sharing and Release,

Johns FE; Gardoll A; Gruber S, 2013, Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Inquiry into the Impact of Federal Court fee increases since 2010 on Access to Justice in Australia, 12 April 2013, Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Inquiry into the Impact of Federal Cou

Johns FE; Hertzberg D, 2013, Submission to the NSW Law Reform Commission Reference on Parole, 7 November 2013, NSW Law Reform Commission

Johns FE; Saul B; Baghoomians I, 2011, Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Inquiry into the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill 2010 and Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement Bill 2010, Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Inquiry into the National Security Leg

Johns FE; Saul B; Burke C; MacPherson D, 2011, Submission to Inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Strengthening the Character Test and Other Provisions) Bill 2011, May 2011, Senate Legal and Constitutional Committees

Johns FE, 2009, Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee Inquiry into Marriage Equality Amendment Bill, September 2009, Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee Inquiry into Marriage Equality Amendment Bill,

Johns FE, 2009, Submission to the Commonwealth Attorney-Generals Department Discussion Paper on proposed Amendments to the National Security Legislation, October 2009, Commonwealth Attorney-Generals Department

Johns FE; Bruderlein C, 1999, Inter-Agency Expert Consultation on Protected Areas: Review of Literature

Johns FE, 1999, Report of the Inter-Agency Expert Consultation on Protected Areas, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs & Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies


Johns F, 2020, Drowning, Rescuing and the Law in Between, Cambridge University Press (CUP),

Johns F, 2020, “Surveillance Capitalism” and the Angst of the Petit Sovereign, Wiley, London

Johns F; Compton C, 2019, Submission for the Thematic Report to the UN General Assembly on Digital Technology, Social Protection and Human Rights,

Johns F; Grolman L, 2019, Big Data and International Law, Oxford University Press, Oxford,

Bennett Moses L; Johns F; Joyce D, 2018, Introduction: Data Associations in Global Law & Policy, SAGE Publications (UK and US),

Johns FE; Riles A, 2017, Introduction to Symposium on Cybersecurity and the Changing International Law of Data, Cambridge University Press,

Johns F, 2015, Book Review: Competing Sovereignties, CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS,

Johns FE, 2014, The Turn to Data Analytics and International Law,

Johns FE, 2014, 'International Law 1914/2014', Critical Legal Thinking: Law & The Political,

Johns FE; Joyce D, 2014, Beyond Privacy: Is Prevailing Legal Debate too Analog for a Digital Age?

Johns F, 2013, Book Review: 'The International Law of Human Rights’ by Justine Nolan, Adam McBeth and Simon Rice, OXFORD UNIV PRESS,

Johns FE, 2013, Encyclopaedia Entries: ‘Economic, social and cultural rights’, ‘Extraterritoriality’ and ‘International Bill of Rights’, Australian Law Dictionary, Australian Law Dictionary, Oxford University Press: Australia

Johns FE, 2012, Book Review: 'Collateral Knowledge: Legal Reasoning in the Global Financial Markets’ by Annelise Riles

Johns F; Skouteris T; Werner W, 2011, Introduction: The league of nations and the construction of the periphery,

Johns FE; Werner W; Skouteris T, 2010, Introduction: ‘India and International Law',

Johns F; Skouteris T; Werner W, 2008, Editors' Introduction: Taslim Olawale Elias in the Periphery Series,

Johns F (ed.), 2008, Book Review: 'The Body and the State: Habeas Corpus and American Jurisprudence by Cary Federman'

Johns FE; Werner W, 2008, Introduction: ‘The Risks of International Law’, Cambridge University Press (CUP): HSS Journals,


Johns FE; Werner W; Skouteris J, 2006, Introduction: ‘Alejandro Álvarez’,

Johns FE, 2005, Book Review: 'Critical Beings: Law, Nation and the Global Subject edited by Peter Fitzpatrick and Patricia Tuitt’

Johns FE; Crock M; Freeman D, 2004, Editors' Introduction: Migration, Mental Health and Human Rights,

Johns FE, 2003, Book Review: ‘Diversity and Self-Determination in International Law by Karen Knop’, Cambridge University Press (CUP): HSS Journals

Johns FE, 2000, Book Review: ‘Citymaking by Gerald Frug’

Conference Papers

Johns F, 2020, 'Disciplinary Privilege and the Promise of Decampment: A Response to James Thuo Gathii's “The Promise of International Law: A Third World View”', in Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law, American Society of International Law, Washington, D.C., presented at Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law, Washington, D.C., 25 June 2020 - 26 June 2020,

  • Fulbright Scholar Award (declined) 2019-2020

    Robert Gordon Menzies Scholarship, Harvard University 1995-1996

    Robert Laylin Prize, Harvard University 1996

    Elected LLM class speaker, Harvard University Commencement 1996

    Robert Craig Exhibition for Current International Legal Problems, University of Melbourne, 1994

    Schutt Trust Fellowship, Trinity College, University of Melbourne, 1991

    Price Waterhouse Prize for Contracts, University of Melbourne, 1990

  • Australian Research Council Future Fellowship 2021-2024 (FT200100656), 'Diplomatic Knowledge, Disasters and the Future of International Legal Order' (AUD$951,471)
  • First-named Chief Investigator, Australian Research Council Discovery Project Grant 2018-2020 (DP18010090), 'Data Science in Humanitarianism: Confronting Novel Law and Policy Challenges' (with CI A/Professor Wayne Wobcke, UNSW Computer Science, and PI Professor David Nelken, Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London) (AUD$511,496).
  • Chief Investigator, Australian Cyber Security Studies Centre Research Grant 2015 ‘Data Analytics, Decision Support and Changing Conditions of Global Governance: Human Dimensions of Cyber Security Regulation’ (AUD$30,000)
  • First-named Chief Investigator, Australian Research Council Discovery Grant 2011-2013 (DP110102978) ‘Mekong Laws: Scales, Sites and Impacts of 'hard' and 'soft' Law in Mekong River Basin Governance’ (with Prof. Philip Hirsch, Prof. Ben Boer and Prof. Ben Saul) (AUD$300,000)
  • Participating Investigator, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant 2012-2015, ‘Planning by Contract: An Empirical Study of the Legal and Governance Dimensions of Public-Private Projects’ (Prof. Mariana Valverde and Dr. Susannah Bunce, University of Toronto are Chief Investigators) (CAD$94,275)
  • Grant-holder, Council for Australian-Arab Relations Grant 2012-2013, for ‘International Law & the Periphery’, a Conference Co-convened with the American University in Cairo, Egypt, Feb. 2012 (AUD $12,000)


International law, international institutions, global governance, legal theory and the role of technology in global affairs, especially the use of digital technology in development, humanitarian aid, and disaster relief.

Teaching Activity

Fleur has taught LLB, JD and Masters courses in the following areas:

  • Public International Law
  • Law in Global Context
  • Private International Law
  • International Human Rights Law
  • International Law & the Use of Armed Force
  • International Project Finance
  • Law, Lawyers & Justice (professional ethics) 
  • Legal Geographies
  • The State and Global Governance
  • Theories of International Law