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Personal profile


Miranda Forsyth is a Professor in the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) in the College of Asia and Pacific at ANU. Prior to coming to ANU, she was a senior lecturer in criminal law at the law school of the University of the South Pacific, based in Port Vila, Vanuatu. 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 central analytical question animating Miranda’s scholarship is how people’s diverse justice needs can best be met in contexts of multiple legal and normative orders. Her geographical focus has been primarily in the Pacific Islands region, particularly Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. Previous projects include the relationships between state and customary justice in Vanuatu and a pluralistic approach to the regulation of intellectual property in the Pacific Islands.

Current research projects focussing on the Pacific include the potential of Restorative Justice for the Pacific islands region, particularly in relation to gender based violence; the promise and challenges of Community Rule-Making as regulatory innovation; and a multi-year project on overcoming sorcery accusation related violence in Papua New Guinea. Miranda is also working on the development of a new agenda for Environmental Restorative Justice in both Australia and internationally.

Miranda draws creatively upon theories and methodological approaches from the disciplines of law, anthropology and criminology to interrogate these issues, working in close partnerships with Pacific islands researchers and research institutions.

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 multi-year project investigating how to best overcome sorcery accusations and related violence in PNG.  The project started in 2016 and has its own dedicated website, Stop Sorcery Violence, for resources and updates. 

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

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. More information is available here.

Intellectual property law and development in Pacific Island countries

In 2015, Miranda completed a three-year Discovery Project funded by the ARC to investigate the impact of intellectual property laws on development in Pacific Island countries. 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
  • Complexity, risk and resilience
  • Crime, violence and justice
  • Restorative justice and peace-building


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Network (past 5 years)

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