Melissa de Zwart

Melissa de Zwart

School of Architecture and Civil Engineering

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


Melissa is the Deputy Director and Chief Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plants 4 Space and Professorial Member of the Andy Thomas Centre for Space Resources.
Melissa is a prominent legal researcher, working in the areas of commercial and military uses of outer space, encompassing both domestic and international space law. She has worked closely with the Australian space industry, including serving as Deputy Director and Board Member of the Space Industry Association of Australia, as well as on the successful bid team for the 2025 International Astronautical Congress to be held in Sydney. She has published widely on all legal and regulatory aspects of the space environment.
Melissa joined the University of Adelaide in 2011 and was Dean of Law 2017- 2021. She holds a PhD from Monash University, an LLM from the University of Melbourne, and a BA (Hons) and LLB (Hons) from the University of Melbourne, as well as a Grad Cert in Higher Education from Monash and a Grad Cert in Higher Education (Online Learning) from the University of Adelaide. Prior to joining Adelaide Law School, she was a Lecturer/ Senior Lecturer at Monash University (1996-2009) and an Associate Professor UNISA (2009-2010). She has held visiting positions at The University of Amsterdam (2002), and National University of Singapore (2006 and 2017). Melissa has also served on the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Classification Review Board (2009-2014). She is a Lieutenant, Royal Australian Navy (Reserve) and holds a current practising certificate in South Australia.
Melissa is a Member of the International Institute of Space Law and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. She is on the Editorial Board of the Alternative Law Journal and Legalities: The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Law and Society, and previously Editor of the Media & Arts Law Review (2013-2020).

Research Interests

Regulation of outer space, including commercial, military, domestic and international law;  technology and innovation; human uses of outer space; sustainability of outer space and resources.

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2019 - 2023 Board Member Space Industry Association of Australia
    2019 - ongoing Lieutenant Royal Australian Navy
    2016 - 2019 Member, Advisory Council Space Industry Association of Australia
    2011 - ongoing Professor University of Adelaide
    2009 - 2014 Member Attorney-General's Department Australia
    2009 - 2011 Associate Professor University of South Australia
    1996 - 2009 Lecturer/ Senior Lecturer Monash University
    1994 - 1998 Manager, Corporate Legal Services Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2012 - 2013 University of Adelaide Australia Graduate Certificate Higher Education (Online Learning)
    2000 - 2006 Monash University Australia PhD
    2000 - 2001 Monash University Australia Graduate Certificate Higher Education
    1995 - 1996 University of Melbourne Australia LL.M.
    1986 - 1991 University of Melbourne Australia B.A. (Hons)
    1986 - 1992 University of Melbourne Australia LL.B (Hons)
  • Research Interests

Copyright Agency Research Fellowship 2016: Copyright in an Instagram World

Copyright Society Research Grant 2014: Intermediary Liability

Surveillance and Big Data

Intellectual Property

Media Law

Law and Popular Culture

Tort Law

Cyberlaw

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2024 Principal Supervisor Non-conventional threats in the Domain of Space: Contemporary Cases and Future Threats Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Adam Sell
    2021 Co-Supervisor Intellectual Property in the 21st Century’s Space Race Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Art Cotterell
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 - 2024 Co-Supervisor Launching a Law and Returning for Reform: A Historical and Comparative Analysis of Australia’s Law for Space Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Joel Willis Lisk
    2019 - 2023 Co-Supervisor Attracting Commercial Artificial Intelligence Firms to Support National Security Through Collaborative Contracts Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time APrf Andrew Scott Bowne
    2013 - 2017 Principal Supervisor To What Extent Can Libyan Intellectual Property Laws Protect Traditional Cultural Expressions From Unauthorised Use? Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Abdolhamed Masoud M Agal
    2013 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Geographical Indications: What is their Worth? A Comparison of Geographical Indication Registrations between Australia and Italy Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Paula Caroline Zito
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2020 - ongoing Board Member Legalities: The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Law and Society Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand (LSAANZ) Australia
    2014 - ongoing Board Member Alternative Law Journal - Australia
    2013 - ongoing Board Member Media & Arts Law Review University of Melbourne Australia

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External Profiles