Lauren Butterly

Lauren Butterly

Lecturer in Law at the Australian National University and a PhD Candidate in Law at the UNSW.

BA (History)/LLB (1 Hons) (UWA), Grad Dip Leg Prac (WA)

Contact details:

Email:, Phone: 02 6125 4680

Lauren is a Lecturer in Law at the Australian National University and a PhD Candidate in Law at UNSW. Lauren researches in the areas of native title, Indigenous rights, environmental law and environmental governance (with a focus on marine areas). Lauren holds a Bachelor of Arts (History) focusing on Indigenous history and a Bachelor of Laws with First Class Honours, both from the University of Western Australia (UWA). She completed her honours dissertation in the areas of water law and native title. Following graduation from university, Lauren served as the Principal Associate to Chief Justice Wayne Martin of the Supreme Court of WA and then worked as an environmental law solicitor in Sydney. Lauren has previously worked as a Lecturer in Law at UWA where she maintains a position as an Honorary Fellow.

Current research projects
Lauren’s PhD thesis is titled: "Turning the Tide of Aspirations into Legal Implications: Exploring the way forward for Indigenous governance of Sea Country in Australia". This thesis explores the intersection between Indigenous rights, Indigenous governance, environmental law and environmental governance in the context of Sea Country.

Selected publications
L. Butterly, 'Clear Choices in Murky Waters: Leo Akiba on behalf of the Torres Strait Regional Seas Claim Group v Commonwealth of Australia' (2013) 35(1) Sydney Law Review 237. Available at:

A. Kwaymullina, B. Kwaymullina and L. Butterly, 'Living Texts: A Perspective on Published Sources, Indigenous Research Methodologies and Indigenous Worldviews' (2013) 6(1) International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies. Available at

L. Butterly, 'Native title rights, regulations and licences: the Torres Strait Sea Claim', 8 August 2013:

L. Butterly, C. Duarte and B. Kwaymullina, 'Environment Day 2013: Caring for Country, including Sea Country, brings value to society', 5 June 2013:

Conference Papers
L. Butterly, "Is Australia about to Fall off the Edge? The Torres Strait Sea Claim and the Way Forward for Indigenous Marine Governance" (Paper delivered at the Law on the Edge conference (Canadian Law and Society Association and the Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand), Vancouver, 4 July 2013).

L. Butterly and E. Techera, "'No Legal Implications’: Then and now? Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Indigenous Marine Governance in Australia” (Paper delivered at the Australia and New Zealand Legal History Society Conference, Sydney, 11 December 2012).
Lauren was interviewed on ABC Radio National and ABC The World Today about the Torres Strait Sea Claim (a case that was handed down by the High Court on 7 August 2013):



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