Associate Professor Melissa Crouch

BA/LLB (Hons), University of Melbourne

PhD, University of Melbourne

Melissa Crouch is Associate Professor and Associate Dean Research at the Law School, UNSW.  She established and runs the Southeast Asia Law & Policy Forum at UNSW Law. She teaches and researches on law and religion, law and governance, and comparative constitutional law, with a specialisation on Southeast Asia. She has been awarded numerous grants and awards, including the Endeavour Australia Research Fellowship; University of Indonesia Visiting Fellowship; and the University of Melbourne Kathleen Fitzpatrick Visiting Fellowship. Melissa is Chief Investigator on an ARC Discovery Grant on "Constitutional Change in Authoritarian Regimes" (2018-2021). This study builds on two of her previous major research projects: her doctoral research on courts and religion in Indonesia, and her postdoctoral research on religion and the courts in Myanmar, and on constitutions and the courts in Southeast Asia

Melissa is the author of Law and Religion in Indonesia: Conflict and the Courts in West Java (2014) and The Constitution of Myanmar (2019). She has published in a range of peer-reviewed journals including the International Journal of Constitutional Law, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Sydney Law Review and Asian Studies Review.  She is the editor of several volumes including: The Politics of Courts: Judicial Reform and Legal Culture in Indonesia (CUP 2019); 'Islam and the State in Myanmar: Muslim-Buddhist Relations and the Politics of Belonging' (OUP 2016), and The Business of Transition: Law, Development and Economics in Myanmar (CUP 2017). Melissa has worked with local and international organisations with a focus on constitutional and administrative law reforms and legal education in Southeast Asia. She is the Myanmar Academic Lead for the UNSW Institute for Global Development. She is the Deputy Director of the Comparative Constitutional Law Project; member of the Australia-Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project, the Gilbert+Tobin Centre for Public Law; and the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. More on her research and intellectual concern with questions about the law and politics of constitutions, courts and religion in Southeast Asia is available here. A list of Melissa's publications and CV is available here, or some publications are accessible on SSRN, Academia or here.

Melissa is the Secretary of the Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA), the peak academic body for Asian studies in Australia. She is also the Secretary of the Association for Mainland Southeast Asia Scholars (AMSEAS). She is an advisor on the Indonesian Law Practicum of the Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesian Studies (ACICIS); an Associate of the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society, University of Melbourne; and a member of the Editorial Board of the Asian Journal of Comparative Law. Melissa is a career champion for the Australia Indonesia Youth Association, and you can find more about her expertise on Indonesian Law here.


I am interested in considering proposals for research supervision in the following areas: comparative constitutional law; law and society; law and development; law and religion. This includes Indonesian law (constitutional law, administrative law, criminal law, legal pluralism and Islamic law); Myanmar law (public and private law, legal pluralism and socio-legal studies); and Southeast Asian law and legal traditions, comparative or socio-legal studies on the region. I am available to supervise LLB, LLM, JD and PhD research thesis. 

Existing PhD supervision:

Ashraf Azad, 'Irregular Migration of Rohingya Refugees from Myanmar to Bangladesh and Malaysia

Indriaswati Dyah Saptaningrum, ‘From Government to Governance: The Politics of Indonesia’s Digital Content Policies post-2008

Nikki Edwards, 'Civil Society and Legal Activism in Southeast Asia'

Milda Istiqomah, 'Factors Contributing to Terrorism Sentencing Outcomes in Indonesia

Emma Dunlop, 'Justice in Exile: A Study of States obligations to ensure refugees access to courts under international law

Luke Potter, 'Local Government Authorities and Durable Solutions to Protect Against Disaster Displacement risk in Small Island Developing States in the Pacific

Xu Zhuangsi, ‘Implication of International Human Rights Law on China’s Protection of Minorities Language Rights

Chuhunvoleak Srun, Court Reform in Cambodia

JD research thesis: Sai Myint Aung, Law and Economic Development in Myanmar: A Case Study of the Central Bank

Supervision completions: 

LLB research thesis: Jarrod Mitchell, Community Stability and Adat Law in Indonesia; Goran Matic, Toward a Modern Egyptian Constitution; Elsa Lo, A Constitutionally Islamic Malaysia

LLM Research thesis: Yance Arizona, Becoming Indigenous Citizens in Indonesia

Profile Picture
Book Chapters

Crouch M, 2019, 'The Constitution of Myanmar', in Law D (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Constitutions in Asia, Oxford University Press

Crouch M, 2019, 'Vehicle for Democratic Transition or Authoritarian Straightjacket? Constitutional Regression and Risks in the Struggle to Change Myanmar’s Constitution', in Ginsburg T; Huq A (ed.), Implementing New Constitutions, Cambridge University Press

Crouch M, 2019, 'Constitution-making and public participation in Southeast Asia', in Landau D; Lerner H (ed.), Constitution-making, Edward Elgar

Crouch M, 2019, 'The Legal Profession in Myanmar', in Abel R; Hammerslev O (ed.), Lawyers in Society, Hart Publishing

Crouch M, 2017, 'Understanding the business of transition in Myanmar', in The Business of Transition: Law Reform, Development and Economics in Myanmar, pp. 1 - 31,

Crouch M, 2017, 'Judicial power in Myanmar and the challenge of judicial independence', in Asia-Pacific Judiciaries: Independence, Impartiality and Integrity, pp. 264 - 283,

Crouch M, 2017, 'Judiciary', in Simpson A; Farrelly N; Holliday I (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Myanmar, Routledge, pp. 248 - 256,

Crouch M, 2017, 'Negotiating Legal Pluralism in Court: Fatwa and the Crime of Blasphemy in Indonesia', in Bell G (ed.), Pluralism, Transnationalism and Culture in Asian Law: A Book in Honour of M.B. Hooker, ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute (Institute for Southeast Asian Studies), Singapore, pp. 231 - 256,

Crouch M, 2017, 'Negotiating legal pluralism in court: Fatwa and the crime of blasphemy in indonesia', in Pluralism, Transnationalism and Culture in Asian Law: A Book in Honour of M.B. Hooker, pp. 231 - 256

Crouch M, 2017, 'The Everyday Emergency: Between the Constitution and the Code of Criminal Procedure in Myanmar', in Harding A (ed.), Constitutional Change and Legal Reform in Myanmar, Hart Publishing/Bloomsbury, UK, pp. 157 - 172,

Crouch M, 2016, 'Myanmar’s Muslim Mosaic and the Politics of Belonging', in Crouch M (ed.), Islam and the State in Myanmar: Muslim-Buddhist Relations and the Politics of Belonging, Oxford University Press, India, pp. 9 - 38,

Crouch M, 2016, 'Introduction: Islam and the State in Myanmar', in Crouch M (ed.), Islam and the State in Myanmar : Muslim-Buddhist Relations and the Politics of Belonging, Oxford University Press, India, pp. 1 - 8,

Crouch M, 2016, 'Islamic Law and Society in Southeast Asia', in Emon A; Ahmed R (ed.), The Oxford Handbook on Islamic Law, Oxford University Press, Oxford,

Crouch M, 2016, 'Legislating reform? Law and conflict in Myanmar', in Cheesman N; Farrelly N (ed.), Conflict in Myanmar: War, Politics, Religion, ISEAS, Singapore, pp. 221 - 245,

Crouch M, 2016, 'Personal Law and Colonial Legacy: State-Religion Relations and the Practise of Islamic Law in Myanmar', in Crouch M (ed.), Islam and the State in Myanmar: Muslim-Buddhist Relations and the Politics of Belonging, Oxford University Press, India, pp. 69 - 97,

Crouch M; Ginsburg T, 2016, 'Between endurance and change in South-East Asia: the military and constitutional reform in Myanmar and Thailand', in Annual Review of Constitution Building Processes: 2015, International Institute of Democracy and Electoral Assistance, Sweden, pp. 67 - 82,

Crouch M, 2015, 'Ethnic Rights and Constitutional Change: The Constitutional Recognition of Ethnic Nationalities in Myanmar/Burma', in Harding A (ed.), Central-local Relations in Asian Constitutional Systems, Hart Publishing/Bloomsbury, pp. 105 - 124,

Crouch M, 2014, 'The Layers of Legal Development in Myanmar', in Crouch M (ed.), Law, Society and Transition in Myanmar, Hart/Bloomsbury Publishing, pp. 39 - 58,

Crouch M, 2014, 'The Common Law and the Constitutional Writs in Myanmar', in Crouch M (ed.), Law, Society and Transition in Myanmar. Oxford: Hart Publishing, Hart/Bloomsbury Publishing, pp. 141 - 158,

Crouch M, 2014, 'The inter-religious harmony forum, the ombudsman, and the state: Resolving church permit disputes in Indonesia?', in Religious Diversity in Muslim-majority States in Southeast Asia: Areas of Toleration and Conflict, pp. 113 - 132

Crouch M; Lindsey T, 2014, 'Introduction: Myanmar, Law Reform and Asian Legal Studies', in Law, Society and Transition in Myanmar, Hart/Bloomsbury Publishing, pp. 3 - 20

Crouch M, 2014, 'Proselytization, Religious Diversity and the State in Indonesia: The Offense of Deceiving a Child to Change Religion', in Proselytizing and the Limits of Religious Pluralism in Contemporary Asia, Springer Singapore, pp. 17 - 40

Crouch M; Cheesman N, 2014, 'A Short Research Guide to Myanmar’s Legal System', in Law, Society and Transition in Myanmar, Hart/Bloomsbury Publishing, pp. 21 - 32

Crouch M, 2008, 'Indonesia’s National and Local Ombudsman Reforms: Salvaging a Failed Experiment?', in Indonesia: Law and Society, Federation Press, pp. 382 - 406


Crouch M, 2019, The Constitution of Myanmar, Hart Publishing/ Bloomsbury,

Crouch M, 2013, Law and Religion in Indonesia: Conflict and the Courts in West Java, Routledge,

Edited Books

Crouch M, (ed.), 2019, The Politics of Court Reform: Judicial Change and Legal Culture in Indonesia, Cambridge University Press

Crouch M, 2017, The business of transition: Law reform, development and economics in Myanmar,

Crouch M, (ed.), 2016, Islam and the State in Myanmar: Muslim-Buddhist Relations and the Politics of Belonging, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, India

Crouch M; Lindsey T, (eds.), 2014, Law, Society and Transition in Myanmar, Hart Publishing/Bloomsbury,

Journal articles

Crouch M, 2019, 'States of Legal Denial: How the Rohingya Lost the Right to Vote and the Role of Legal Denial in Myanmar', Journal of Contemporary Asia

Crouch M, 2018, 'Dictators, Democrats, and Constitutional Dialogue: Myanmar's Constitutional Tribunal', International Journal of Constitutional Law, vol. 16, pp. 421 - 446,

Crouch M, 2018, 'The Prerogative Writs as Constitutional Transfer', OXFORD JOURNAL OF LEGAL STUDIES, vol. 38, pp. 653 - 675,

Crouch M, 2018, 'Constitutionalism, religion, and inequality: Perspectives from Asia', Asian Journal of Comparative Law, vol. 13, pp. 233 - 243,

Crouch M, 2017, 'The Expansion of Emergency Powers: Social Conflict and the Military in Indonesia', Asian Studies Review, vol. 41, pp. 459 - 475,

Crouch M, 2017, 'Myanmar's Advocate for Constitutional Reform: Saya U Ko Ni', Australian Journal of Asian Law, vol. 17, pp. 1 - 12,

Crouch M, 2016, 'Constitutionalism, Islam and the Practice of Religious Deference: The Case of the Indonesian Constitutional Court', Australian Journal of Asian Law, vol. 16, pp. 1 - 15,

Butt S; Crouch M; Dixon R, 2016, 'The First Decade of Indonesia’s Constitutional Court', Australian Journal of Asian Law, vol. 16, pp. 1 - 7,

Crouch M, 2016, 'Promiscuity, Polygamy and the Power of Revenge: The Past and Future of Burmese Buddhist Law in Myanmar', Asian Journal of Law and Society, vol. 3, pp. 85 - 104,

Crouch M, 2015, 'Constructing Religion by Law in Myanmar', The Review of Faith & International Affairs, vol. 13, pp. 1 - 11,

Chua LJ; Crouch M, 2014, 'Socio-legal Scholarship on Southeast Asia: Themes and Directions', Asian Journal of Comparative Law, vol. 9, pp. 1 - 4,

Crouch M, 2014, 'Rediscovering Law in Myanmar: A Review of Scholarship on the Legal System of Myanmar', Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal, vol. 23, pp. 543 - 577

Crouch M, 2013, 'Asian legal transplants and rule of law reform: National human rights commission in Myanmar and Indonesia', Hague Journal on the Rule of Law, vol. 5, pp. 146 - 177,

Crouch M, 2013, 'Shifting conceptions of state regulation of religion: The Indonesian Draft Law on Inter-religious Harmony', Global Change, Peace and Security, vol. 25, pp. 265 - 282,

Crouch M, 2013, 'Review Essay: Legal Pluralism in Indonesia', Australian Journal of Asian Law, vol. 14

Missbach A; Crouch M, 2013, 'The Criminalisation of People Smuggling: The Dynamics of Judicial Discretion in Indonesia', Australian Journal of Asian Law, vol. 14, pp. 1 - 19,

Crouch M, 2013, 'The Constitution, Emergency Powers and the Rule of Law in Myanmar', Panorama, vol. 1, pp. 45 - 56

Lindsey T; Crouch M, 2013, 'Cause Lawyers in Indonesia: a House Divided', Wisconsin International Law Journal, vol. 31, pp. 620 - 620,

Crouch MA, 2012, 'Law and religion in Indonesia: The constitutional court and the blasphemy law', Asian Journal of Comparative Law, vol. 7,

Crouch M, 2012, 'The Indonesian Blasphemy Case: Affirming the Legality of the Blasphemy Law', Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, vol. 1, pp. 1 - 4,

Crouch M, 2012, 'Criminal (In)justice in Indonesia: The Cikeusik trials', Alternative Law Journal, vol. 37, pp. 54 - 56

Crouch M, 2012, 'Judicial Review and Religious Freedom: The Case of Indonesian Ahmadis', SYDNEY LAW REVIEW, vol. 34, pp. 545 - 572,

Crouch M, 2011, 'Cause Lawyers, the Legal Profession and the Courts in Indonesia: The Bar Association Controversy', LAWASIA Journal, pp. 63 - 86,

Crouch M, 2011, 'Religious’ Deviancy’and the Law', Inside Indonesia,

Crouch M, 2011, 'Ahmadiyah in Indonesia: A history of religious tolerance under threat?', ALTERNATIVE LAW JOURNAL, vol. 36, pp. 56 - 57,

Crouch M, 2010, 'Implementing the regulation on places of worship in Indonesia: New problems, local politics and court action', Asian Studies Review, vol. 34, pp. 403 - 419,

Crouch M, 2009, 'Stretching the scope of special autonomy in Aceh: the controversial Qanun requirement for political candidates', Australian Journal of Asian Law, vol. 11, pp. 135 - 158

Crouch M, 2009, 'Qanun of Aceh Number 3 Year 2008 on Local Political Parties (translation)', Australian Journal of Asian Law, vol. 11, pp. 142 - 142

Crouch M, 2009, 'Religious Regulations in Indonesia: Failing Vulnerable Groups?', Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs, vol. 43, pp. 53 - 103,

Crouch M, 2007, 'Regulating Places of Worship in Indonesia: Upholding Freedom of Religion for Religious Minorities?', Singapore Journal of Legal Studies, pp. 96 - 116

Crouch M, 2007, 'The Yogyakarta local ombudsman: Promoting good governance through local support', Asian Journal of Comparative Law, vol. 2, pp. 219 - 246,

Crouch M, 2006, 'The Proselytisation Case: Law, the Rise of Islamic Conservatism and Religious Discrimination in West Java', Australian Journal of Asian Law, vol. 8, pp. 322 - 337


Crouch M, 2017, Book Review: Buddhism, Politics and the Limits of Law: The Pyrrhic Constitutionalism of Sri Lanka, Cambridge University Press (CUP), Cambridge,

Crouch M, 2016, The Constitutional Implications of Myanmar’s Peace Process, International Institute of Democracy and Electoral Assistance,

Crouch M, 2016, Shi’ism in Southeast Asia, Oxford University Press (OUP),

Crouch M, 2015, Opposing the Rule of Law: How Myanmar's Courts Make Law and Order., INST SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES-ISEAS,

Crouch M, 2012, Book Review: No Concessions, The Life of Yap Thiam Hien,

Crouch M, 2012, Williams v Commonwealth of Australia [2012] HCA 23

Crouch M, 2011, Review: Christianity in Indonesia, Perspectives of Power


Crouch M, 2019, Legal Reform and Judicial Education: Report on Judicial Education in Commercial Law in Myanmar, Asian Development Bank, Yangon

Crouch M, 2018, The Future of Professional Legal Education in Commercial and Corporate Law in Myanmar., Asian Development Bank, Asian Development Bank

Crouch M, 2017, Professional Legal Education in Commercial and Corporate Law in Myanmar: An Assessment of the Legal Profession, the Attorney General’s Office and the Courts, Asian Development Bank, Yangon

Crouch M, 2017, Module on Principles and Processes of Constitution-making, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, Yangon, Myanmar

Crouch M, 2016, Report on Constitutional Law in Myanmar: Curriculum Guidelines on Constitutional Design for MyConstitution Centre, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, Yangon, Myanmar

Crouch M, 2015, Best Practise in Administrative Law: Options for Myanmar, United Nations Development Program, Yangon

Crouch M, 2014, Access to Justice and Administrative Law in Myanmar., USAID, Yangon

Crouch M; Missbach A, 2013, Trials of People Smugglers in Indonesia: 2007-2012, Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam & Society, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, 1,

Crouch M, 2009, Indonesia, Militant Islam and Ahmadiyah: Origins and Implications, Asian Law Centre, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, ARC Federation Fellowship, ‘Islam, Shariah and Governance’ Background Paper Series No. 4,,

2019, National Library of Australia, Asia Studies Visiting Fellowship, "Legal Legacies of Authoritarian Regimes"

2018, Kathleen Fitzpatrick Visiting Fellowship in Comparative Constitutional Law, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne

2017, University of Indonesia Resolv Visiting Scholars Fellowship, Faculty of Law

2009, Endeavour Australia Research Fellowship

2008-2011, Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship Doctoral Scholarship and Travel Scholarships

2019, ASAA Workshop Grant for bursaries for students to attend the 'Women in Asia Conference' at UNSW

2019, Australian Academy of Humanities, funds to support the Early Career Workshop of the Women in Asia Conference at UNSW

2019, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, collaboration to support the Women in the Legal Profession and Judiciary in Asia Panel Streatm

2018-2021, ARC Discovery Grant, Chief Investigator, "Constitutional Change in Authoritarian Regimes: The Case of Myanmar"

2017-2019, UNSW IGD Myanmar Seed Funds, "Constitutional Reform and the Peace Process in Myanmar"

2016-2019, Asian Development Bank, Professional Legal Education in Corporate and Commercial Law in Myanmar

2016, New Colombo Plan funding for UNSW Myanmar Law Ambassadors Program (scholarships for law students).

2016-2017, ANU Indonesia Project Research Grants and UNSW Indonesia Seed Grant, with Dr Fritz Siregar, University of Indonesia, Jakarta. Project: ‘Administrative Justice in Indonesia’.

2016, Konrad Adanaeur Stiftung (KAS), Australia-Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project, Workshops with the Constitutional Tribunal of Myanmar, (with T Roux).

2015-2018, Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) Australia-Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project  on Building Constitutionalism in Myanmar (with W Sadurski, T Roux, M Krygier and C Renshaw).

2015, Faculty Research Grant, Project: From Military Rule to Rule of Law in Myanmar; Early Career Grant; Faculty Workshop Support Scheme, UNSW Law: The Business of Transition in Myanmar

2014-2015, Harvard Law School's Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP) Research Grant, Project: ‘Authority and Islam: An Ethnography of Fatwa in Myanmar’

2013-2014, Research & Conference Grant, Project: ‘Law, Governance & Minorities in Myanmar’; and Myanmar Law Reform Project Fund (for workshops in Myanmar), Centre for Asian Legal Studies, National University of Singapore

2012–2013, Postdoctoral Research Support Funds, Law Faculty, National University of Singapore

2012, Myanmar Engagement Fund, University of Melbourne, with Professor Tim Lindsey

2010, Melbourne Abroad Travelling Scholarship; MA Bartlett Research Scholarship Fund Competitive Funding; and Research Support Funds, the University of Melbourne

law and politics in Southeast Asia, particularly Myanmar and Indonesia; comparative constitutional law; comparative administrative law; criminal law; law and religion in Southeast Asia, including Islam and Buddhism; law and society; law and development



06 Dec 2017
Crisis in Myanmar – its origins and our response
Dr Melissa Crouch participated in a panel discussion for The Lowy Institute on 5 December 2017.Over half a million Rohingya have fled Myanmar into neighbouring Bangladesh since 25 August, bringing with them accounts of crimes against humanity by Myanmar security forces and local mobs.
16 Nov 2017
Muslims, NGOs, and the future of democratic space in Myanmar
Dr Melissa Crouch recently spoke to Catherine Scheer and Giuseppe Bolotta of The Religious Studies Project (13 November 2017) regarding her research on Myanmar’s Muslim population and the role played by the international community in
12 Sep 2017
The twisted politics of terrorism in Myanmar
Opinion: Melissa Crouch, the Interpreter, 12 September 2017.
07 Sep 2017
ADB Program To Improve Commercial Law Skills
On 29 August 2017, UNSW Law hosted the graduation ceremony in Yangon for 36 lawyers who completed the UNSW/ADB Professional Legal Education in Commercial and Corporate Law Training Program.The training program was designed and run by a team at UNSW Law led by Dr Melissa Crouch. The intensive training course ran from April to July 2017 and included training on contract law, company law, joint ventures, mergers & acquisitions, and environmental law.
12 Jul 2017
Collaboration between UNSW Law and Indonesia
In the last week of June, UNSW Law was delighted to welcome UNSW Law alumnus Dr Fritz Siregar, as a visiting scholar to the Faculty. During his visit, Fritz delivered an engaging seminar on his new and important role as Commissioner of the Indonesian Elections Supervisory Board (2017-2022).
20 Jun 2017
Islam and the State
Dr Melissa Crouch spoke to ANU Myanmar Research Centre’s, Myanmar Musings podcast series (13 June 2017) regarding her book, Islam and the State and touched on the challenges and the use of Islamic personal law in Myanmar.
Achievement|Opinion|16 Apr 2019
Duterte-era populism and gender will be in focus at Women in Asia Conference
Scholars from across the globe will gather at UNSW to discuss how changing gender norms intersect with populism’s appeal in Asia.

Currently Teaching

My teaching interests include Constitutional Law; Comparative Law; Constitution-making; Law and Development; Administrative Law; Asian Legal Systems; Law and Religion; and Law and Society. I have taught a range of workshops overseas, including on Judicial Independence; Principles and Processes of Constitution-making; The Role of Courts in Democratisation; Constitutional Courts in Federal Systems; Federalism and Minority Rights; Emergency Powers. At UNSW, I have taught Principles of Public Law (LAWS1141). I also teach the following electives: The Rule of Law in Southeast Asia (LAWS3167; JURD7567); Islamic Law and Society (LAWS3165; JURD7865) and Indonesian Law (LAWS3139). At UNSW, I have taught Principles of Public Law (LAWS1141). I also teach the following electives: The Rule of Law in Southeast Asia (LAWS3167; JURD7567); Islamic Law and Society (LAWS3165; JURD7865) and Indonesian Law (LAWS3139)