Melissa de Zwart

Professor Melissa de Zwart

Dean of Law

Adelaide Law School

Faculty of the Professions

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


A thought-leader in the area of law and technology, Melissa has a strong international profile in the areas of internet law and the regulation of access to and uses of outer space. She has published widely on copyright, digital technology, internet law, surveillance and outer space. Building upon her practical experience as in-house counsel at CSIRO and in private legal practice, she has a strong understanding of the value of commercialisation of cutting edge technology as well as the regulatory and legal issues which may arise. As Deputy Chair of the Space Industry Association, she brings a passion for the support of a vibrant space industry in Australia, working on the regulatory environment that will support this.
Melissa joined the University of Adelaide in 2011 and has been Dean of Law since 2017. 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 the Chair of the Editorial Board of the Woomera Manual on Military Space Operations; a Member of the International Institute of Space Law and a Fellow and Board Member 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).
Melissa is currently the Chair of the Council of Australian Law Deans, having served as Deputy Chair from 2017-2020.

Research Interests

Copyright, fair dealing, digital technology, technology and innovation, space, commercial space, content regulation, online games, social networking, governance of online environments, digital identity, new media, convergence.

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  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2019 Board Member Space Industry Association of Australia
    2019 Lieutenant Royal Australian Navy
    2016 - 2019 Member, Advisory Council Space Industry Association of Australia
    2011 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

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

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2021 Principal Supervisor Intellectual Property in the 21st Century’s Space Race Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Chantel Rebbecca Cotterell
    2020 Co-Supervisor Law of the sea is an inspiration by analogy to the development of space law. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mrs Tracy Lynn Reynolds
    2019 Principal Supervisor Best Practices in Leveraging the AI Commercial Sector for US / Australia Defence Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time APrf Andrew Scott Bowne
    2019 Principal Supervisor Legislating for Emerging Areas of Commercial Activity in Outer Space Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Joel Willis Lisk
    2017 Co-Supervisor Reconciling conflicts in the application of disparate and fragmented International legal regimes to military uses outer space Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Duncan Blake
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    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
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  • 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
  • Position: Dean of Law
  • Phone: 83135172
  • Email: melissa.dezwart@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Ligertwood Building, floor 5
  • Room: 5 11
  • Org Unit: Adelaide Law School

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External Profiles