Personal profile


Miranda Forsyth is a Associate Professor at RegNet in the College of Asia and Pacific at ANU. In July 2015 she completed a three year ARC Discovery funded project to investigate the impact of intellectual property laws on development in Pacific Island countries.

Prior to coming to the ANU, Miranda was a senior lecturer in criminal law at the law school of the University of the South Pacific, based in Port Vila, Vanuatu for eight years. Miranda is the author of A Bird that Flies with Two Wings: Kastom and State Justice Systems in Vanuatu (2009) ANU ePress and co-author of Weaving Intellectual Property Policy in Small island Developing States, Intersentia 2015.

The broad focus of Miranda’s research is investigating the possibilities and challenges of the inter-operation of state and non-state justice and regulatory systems. She also works on the issue of how best to localize or vernacularize the foreign legal norms and procedures. Such norms are often required to be transplanted into developing countries, for example due to international or multilateral treaty obligations.

Miranda also has an on-going interest in broader theoretical questions involved in improving conflict resolution mechanisms in countries with weak states, and also what is involved in the concept of “development” in Pacific Island countries


Research interests

Legal Pluralism ; Law and Society ; Legal anthropology ; Restorative Justice ; Crime and Violence ; Government and Politics of Asia and the Pacific ; Intellectual Property Law

Researcher's projects

Sorcery accusation related violence in PNG

Miranda is a chief investigator in a major four year project investigating how to best overcome sorcery accusations and related violence in PNG.  The project started in 2016 and is explained further at:

You can access some of my papers on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) at

Codification of custom and creation of community by-laws in the Pacific

Many communities across the Pacific islands region write down their own ‘customary’ or ‘local’ rules and regulations in the form of what are called customary or community laws, by-laws, constitutions or even ordinances.  This project investigates these developments from a range of different perspectives, in particular asking about what impacts they have on addressing violence, gender inequality and the relationship of citizen and state.  Information about a major conference that addressed these issues is available here:

Preventing and addressing environmental harm through restorative justice

Miranda is a CI in Linkage grant with the Victorian Environment Protection Authority that will examine how restorative justice practices can prevent and address environmental harm. See further

Intellectual property law and development in Pacific Island countries

In 2015 Miranda  completed a three year research project investigating the impact of intellectual property laws on development in Pacific Island counctries.  Some of the aims of this project were to:

  • Identify synergies between customary approaches to the protection of indigenous traditional knowledge and state-based intellectual property regimes, to create a culturally appropriate approach to intellectual property protection in the region.
  • Critically analyse the likely advantages and disadvantages of state-based intellectual property regimes on development in the Pacific Island Countries;
  • Identify an approach to intellectual property in the region that maximizes the benefits of intellectual property laws and avoids or minimizes their disadvantages;
  • Inform Australian, New Zealand and European Union policy in Free Trade Agreement negotiations with the region by charting an approach that ensures consistency between its trade-related intellectual property objectives and its broader development objectives for the region;
  • Inform and support the Pacific Island Countries in adopting a harmonized approach to the negotiation of intellectual property provisions in FTAs, as required by the negotiation processes

The outputs of this project are summarised in a document available here:



BA/LLB (Hons)(Melbourne), LLM (Uconn), Phd (ANU)

Expertise Areas

  • Government and Politics of Asia and the Pacific
  • Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Law and Society


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Network (past 5 years)

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