Professor Megan Davis

Professor Megan Davis is Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous UNSW and a Professor of Law, UNSW Law. Professor Davis was elected by the UN Human Rights Council to UNEMRIP in 2017. Professor Davis currently serves as a United Nations expert with the UN Human Rights Council's Expert Mechanism on the rights of Indigenous peoples based in UN Geneva. Megan is an Acting Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court. Professor Davis is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences. She is a member of the NSW Sentencing Council and an Australian Rugby League Commissioner. Professor Davis was Director of the Indigenous Law Centre, UNSW Law from 2006-2016.

Professor Davis is formerly Chair and expert member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (2011-2016). As UNPFII expert she was the focal point for UN Women and UN AIDS. During this period of UN service, Megan was the Rapporteur of the UN EGM on an Optional Protocol to the UNDRIP in 2015, the Rapporteur of the UN EGM on Combating violence against Indigenous women and girls in 2011 and the UN Rapporteur for the International EGM on Indigenous Youth in 2012. Megan has extensive experience as an international lawyer at the UN and participated in the drafting of the UNDRIP from 1999-2004 and is a former UN Fellow of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

Professor Davis is a constitutional lawyer who researches in public law and public international law. Her current research focuses on constitutional design, democratic theory and Indigenous peoples. Professor Davis has been the leading constitutional lawyer working on Indigenous constitutional reform since 2011. In 2015 she was appointed by the Prime Minister to the Referendum Council and designed the deliberative constitutional dialogue process the Council undertook. In 2011, Megan was also appointed to the Prime Minister's Expert Panel on the Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Constitution and continues to be involved in legal discussions on the constitutional issues relating to the referendum model.

Professor Davis was named in the 2017 Australian Financial Review annual power list and was awarded the overall winner in 2018’s Women of Influence. She was ranked number 7 on the Cultural power list for her work on constitutional reform and delivering the Uluru Statement From the Heart. Professor Davis has also been the 2010 NAIDOC Scholar of the Year; one of Australian Financial Review and Westpac's 100 Women of Influence in Australia in 2013 and 2016; National Australia Bank/Women's Agenda Inspirational Ambassador Award in 2013; the University of Queensland Alumni Award for services to the UN and constitutional reform in 2014; the 58th E.S. Meyers Memorial Medal in 2015; the Duchesne College, University of Queensland Acorn Award in 2015 and; the United Nations Association of Australia QLD UN Award in 2017.

Megan supports the North Queensland Cowboys and the Queensland Maroons.

Profile Picture

ANU 2018 Indigenous Alumna of the Year

Overall Winner - The Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence 2018

ARC Discovery Indigenous, 2018 – Professor Megan Davis and Professor George Williams - $399,600: Recognition after Uluru: what next for First Nations?

ANROWS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Grant Round, 2017 – Professor Marica Langton, Professor Megan Davis and Dr Kristen Smith - $199,415: Improving family violence legal and support services for Indigenous women.

UNSW Major Research Equipment and Infrastructure Initiative, 2015-16 – Megan Davis - $97,672: Australian Indigenous Law Library.

ARC Discovery Indigenous, 2013-16 – Dr Kyllie Cripps, Professor Megan Davis and Associate Professor Anne Cossins - $230,000: The role of cultural factors in the sentencing of Indigenous sex offenders in the Northern Territory.

Indigenous peoples and law (human rights); Indigenous women in Australian democracy; Indigenous peoples in international law; United Nations Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.



Achievement|21 Nov 2019
UNSW Law student named as a finalist for Human Rights Award
'This recognition is not for me, it’s for the ancestors who have been fighting much bigger battles before me.'
Achievement|11 Sep 2019
UNSW academics among most influential women in Australia
Leaders in the fields of medicine, law, public health and built environment named on the 2019 AFR 100 Women of Influence list.
Achievement|03 Apr 2019
UNSW Law celebrates 100 Indigenous graduates
The faculty recognises a significant milestone in a journey that is planned to pick up pace and is striving for 300 Indigenous alumni. 
Thought leadership|29 Mar 2019
UNSW conference will explore how business is stepping up on human rights
Industry leaders and global human rights activists will discuss technology, diversity, modern slavery and Indigenous rights at the Innovate Rights 2019 event.
29 Nov 2018
UNSW Law professor elected to the Academy of Social Sciences
Scientia Professor Rosemary Rayfuse has been elected to the Academy of Social Sciences in recognition of her exemplary achievements.
19 Oct 2018
UNSW Professor Megan Davis named AFR’s Most Influential Woman
UNSW Sydney Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous), Professor Megan Davis, has won top honours in The Australian Financial Review/Qantas 100 Women of Influence Awards.
05 Sep 2018
UNSW academics shortlisted among 100 most influential women in Australia
PVC Indigenous Megan Davis and Science Dean Emma Johnston have been named in this year’s AFR/Qantas 100 Women of Influence Awards.
30 Jul 2018
Aboriginal women in the spotlight in second Mason Conversation
Two prominent Aboriginal women who led the unique process which culminated in the historic Uluru Statement from the Heart will take part in the second Mason Conversation at UNSW on August 16.
14 Nov 2017
Nura Gili’s 5th annual Indigenous Awards Night
Gathering for an evening of celebrations on campus, Nura Gili, UNSW’s Centre for Indigenous Programs hosted their 5th annual Awards Night on Friday 13 October. The evening recognises and celebrates the academic achievements, triumphs of effort and resilience of Indigenous students across UNSW.
20 Oct 2017
UNSW features in AFR's annual power list
Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous and Professor of Law, Megan Davis has been named alongside UNSW Chancellor David Gonski and UNSW quantum physicist Professor Michelle Simmons, in Australia's 30 most powerful people list, in the Australian Financial Review Magazine's annual Power issue. Professor Megan Davis and the Referendum Council are ranked at number 7 on the Australian Financial Review’s Cultural Power List. The Cultural Power list, measures a person's ability to define what it means to be Australian.
06 Jun 2017
Symbolic constitutional recognition off the table after Uluru talks, Indigenous leaders say
Professor Megan Davis spoke to ABC News (27 May 2017) following her reading of the "Uluru Statement of the Heart" at the closing ceremony of the Uluru convention.