Phillipa McCormack

Dr Phillipa McCormack

Postdoctoral Researcher

Environment Institute

Division of Research and Innovation

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


Phillipa McCormack is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Adelaide Law School. Her research focuses on climate change adaptation in Australia, including the effects of climate change on biodiversity and on intensifying bushfire regimes, and the role of law and policy in facilitating climate adaptation. She has published widely on the challenges and opportunities for legal and policy reform in Australia with the goal of improving nature conservation in a rapidly changing world. She is currently co-editing a handbook on biodiversity and climate change law.

Phillipa researches Australian law and policy for climate change adaptation. She focuses in particular on the effects of climate change on biodiversity and the role of legal frameworks for facilitating biodiversity adaptation; and on climate-driven changes to wildfire regimes and the laws, policies and institutions for bushfire governance in Australia. Phillipa has published widely on the challenges and opportunities that climate change represents for legal and policy reform, with the goal of improving our capacity to adapt in a rapidly changing world.

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2021 - ongoing Postdoctoral Researcher The University of Adelaide
    2021 - ongoing Adjunct Lecturer University of Tasmania
    2018 - 2021 Lecturer University of Tasmania
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2023 Award University of Adelaide Research Excellence: ECR The University of Adelaide Australia $5,000
    2023 Award Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics ECR Research Excellence Award The University of Adelaide Australia -
    2023 Award Adelaide Law School Research Excellence Award (Interdisciplinary Team) The University of Adelaide Australia -
    2023 Award Adelaide Law School Research Excellence Award (ECR) The University of Adelaide Australia -
    2023 Fellowship Early Career Research Fellow Natural Hazards Research Australia Australia $8,000
    2022 Award Adelaide Law School Research Excellence Award (ECR) The University of Adelaide Australia -
    2022 Achievement Core Cultural Learning Foundation Course Australian Institute of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Studies Australia -
    2022 Fellowship Early Career Research Fellow Natural Hazards Research Australia Australia $15,000
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2013 - 2018 University of Tasmania Australia PhD
    2003 - 2007 University of Tasmania Australia BA/LLB (1st class)
  • Postgraduate Training

    Date Title Institution Country
    2018 - 2018 Graduate Certificate in Research University of Tasmania Australia
  • Research Interests

  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2024 Richardson, B. J., Brugler, S., Fitzsimons, J. A., McCormack, P. C., & Akhtar-Khavari, A. (2024). Conservation covenants for ecosystem restoration: adapting an old instrument to a new global conservation challenge?. Frontiers in Conservation Science, 5, 10 pages.
    DOI
    2024 Boocock, J., McDonald, J., & McCormack, P. C. (2024). Public health: a forgotten piece of the adaptation law puzzle. Frontiers in Climate, 6, 15 pages.
    DOI
    2023 Golding, G., McCormack, P., & Brent, K. (2023). The Changing Climate of Australian Employment Law. University of New South Wales Law Journal, 46(4), 1284-1313.
    2023 McDonald, J., Brent, K., McCormack, P., & McGee, J. (2023). GREENHOUSE GAS REMOVAL IN AUSTRALIAN CLIMATE LAW: A POSITIVE ROLE FOR NEGATIVE EMISSIONS. University of New South Wales Law Journal, 46(1), 79-110.
    Scopus2
    2023 Woinarski, J. C. Z., McCormack, P. C. C., McDonald, J., Legge, S., Garnett, S. T. T., Wintle, B., & Rumpff, L. (2023). Making choices: prioritising the protection of biodiversity in wildfires. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF WILDLAND FIRE, 32(7), 1031-1038.
    DOI WoS1
    2023 McCormack, P. C., Miller, R. K., & McDonald, J. (2023). Prescribed burning on private land: reflections on recent law reform in Australia and California. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 33(1), 12 pages.
    DOI Scopus1
    2023 McCormack, P. C. (2023). Implications of extinction in law: Preventing, declaring and learning from species extinctions. Cambridge Prisms: Extinction, 1.
    DOI
    2023 Bowman, D. M. J. S., & McCormack, P. C. (2023). Arrested Policy Development of Private Fire Shelters (Fire Bunkers) Is a Barrier to Adaptation to the Australian Bushfire Crisis. Fire, 6(8), 9 pages.
    DOI
    2022 Ward, D., Melbourne-Thomas, J., Pecl, G. T., Evans, K., Green, M., McCormack, P. C., . . . Layton, C. (2022). Safeguarding marine life: conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 32(1), 65-100.
    DOI Scopus20 WoS8 Europe PMC6
    2022 McDonald, J., & McCormack, P. C. (2022). Responsibility and Risk-Sharing in Climate Adaptation: a Case Study of Bushfire Risk in Australia. Climate Law, 12(2), 128-161.
    DOI Scopus5 WoS5
    2022 Mccormack, P. C., Mcdonald, J., Eburn, M., Little, S. J., Bowman, D. M. J. S., & Harris, R. M. B. (2022). AN ANATOMY OF AUSTRALIA'S LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR BUSHFIRE. MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW, 46(1), 156-217.
    WoS2
    2022 Melbourne-Thomas, J., Audzijonyte, A., Brasier, M. J., Cresswell, K. A., Fogarty, H. E., Haward, M., . . . Pecl, G. T. (2022). Poleward bound: adapting to climate-driven species redistribution. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 32(1), 231-251.
    DOI Scopus37 WoS26 Europe PMC14
    2022 McCormack, P., Jones, A., Wawryk, A., Brent, K., & Wong, V. (2022). The new Australian Blue Carbon Method is a tool for mitigating climate change while restoring coastal ecosystems: a potential win-win. Australian Environment Review, 37(2).
    2021 McDonald, J., & McCormack, P. C. (2021). Rethinking the role of law in adapting to climate change. WIREs Climate Change, 12(5), 1-21.
    DOI Scopus14 WoS10
    2021 McCormack, P., Richardson, B. J., Takacs, D., & Bastmeijer, K. (2021). Wilderness law in the Anthropocene: pragmatism and purism. Environmental Law, 51(2), 383-435.
    2021 Haas, B., Mackay, M., Novaglio, C., Fullbrook, L., Murunga, M., Sbrocchi, C., . . . Haward, M. (2021). The future of ocean governance. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 32(1), 253-270.
    DOI Scopus55 WoS41 Europe PMC12
    2021 Trebilco, R., Fleming, A., Hobday, A. J., Melbourne-Thomas, J., Meyer, A., McDonald, J., . . . Pecl, G. T. (2021). Warming world, changing ocean: mitigation and adaptation to support resilient marine systems. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 32(1), 39-63.
    DOI Scopus7 WoS5 Europe PMC7
    2020 McCormack, P. (2020). Reflections on the interim observations of the bushfires Royal Commission notable omissions and missed opportunities. Australian Environment Review, 35(5 & 6).
    2020 McCormack, P., McDonald, J., & Brent, K. A. (2020). Governance of Land-based Negative-emission Technologies to Promote Biodiversity Conservation: Lessons from Australia. Climate Law, 10(2), 123-150.
    DOI WoS3
    2020 McCormack, P. (2020). Charting Environmental Law Futures in the Anthropocene. TRANSNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW, 9(3), 617-621.
    DOI
    2020 Trouwborst, A., McCormack, P. C., & Martínez Camacho, E. (2020). Domestic cats and their impacts on biodiversity: A blind spot in the application of nature conservation law. People and Nature, 2(1), 235-250.
    DOI Scopus55 WoS43
    2019 McDonald, J., McCormack, P. C., Dunlop, M., Farrier, D., Feehely, J., Gilfedder, L., . . . Reside, A. E. (2019). Adaptation pathways for conservation law and policy. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 10(1), 1-12.
    DOI Scopus13 WoS11
    2018 Bonebrake, T. C., Brown, C. J., Bell, J. D., Blanchard, J. L., Chauvenet, A., Champion, C., . . . Pecl, G. T. (2018). Managing consequences of climate-driven species redistribution requires integration of ecology, conservation and social science. Biological Reviews, 93(1), 284-305.
    DOI Scopus149 WoS129 Europe PMC30
    2018 Gogarty, B., Kirkpatrick, J., Fitzgerald, N., Jarman, S., McCormack, P., & Marthick, J. (2018). Commercial tourism in Tasmania’s wilderness threatens the attraction it exploits. Nature Ecology and Evolution, 2(12), 1826.
    DOI Scopus5 WoS4
    2018 McCormack, P. (2018). The legislative challenge of facilitating climate change adaptation for biodiversity. Australian Law Journal, 92(7), 546-562.
    WoS5
    2018 McCormack, P. C. (2018). Biodiversity Conservation Law and Climate Change Adaptation. AUSTRALIAN LAW JOURNAL, 92(10), 839-845.
    2018 McCormack, P. C. (2018). Conservation introductions for biodiversity adaptation under climate change. Transnational Environmental Law, 7(2), 323-345.
    DOI Scopus10 WoS11
    2017 Pecl, G. T., Araújo, M. B., Bell, J. D., Blanchard, J., Bonebrake, T. C., Chen, I. C., . . . Williams, S. E. (2017). Biodiversity redistribution under climate change: Impacts on ecosystems and human well-being. Science, 355(6332), 1-11.
    DOI Scopus2037 WoS1638 Europe PMC440
    2017 Runge, C. A., Gallo-Cajiao, E., Carey, M. J., Garnett, S. T., Fuller, R. A., & McCormack, P. C. (2017). Coordinating domestic legislation and international agreements to conserve migratory species: a case study from Australia. Conservation Letters, 10(6), 765-772.
    DOI Scopus12 WoS14
    2016 McDonald, J., McCormack, P. C., Fleming, A. J., Harris, R. M. B., & Lockwood, M. (2016). Rethinking legal objectives for climate-adaptive conservation. Ecology and Society, 21(2), 1-10.
    DOI Scopus15 WoS15
    2016 McDonald, J., McCormack, P., & Foerster, A. (2016). Promoting resilience to climate change in Australian conservation law: the case of biodiversity offsets. University of New South Wales Law Journal, 39(4), 1612-1651.
    WoS11
    2014 McCormack, P., & McDonald, J. (2014). Adaptation strategies for biodiversity conservation: Has australian law got what it takes?. Environmental and Planning Law Journal, 31(PART 2), 114-136.
    Scopus13
    - C McCormack, P. (n.d.). Climate Change, Wildfires and Wetland Ecosystem Services. The University of Queensland Law Journal, 39(3), 417-447.
    DOI
  • Book Chapters

    Year Citation
    2023 McCormack, P. C., & Lim, M. (2023). Future Lawyers, Future Laws: Reimagining Legal Education for Sustainability in a World “Governing Through Goals”. In Education and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (pp. 105-127). Springer Nature Singapore.
    DOI
    2022 Trouwborst, A., Blackmore, A., Blyth, S., Fleurke, F., McCormack, P., & Gaywood, M. J. (2022). Conservation Translocations and the Law. In Conservation Translocations (pp. 77-107). Cambridge University Press.
    DOI
    2021 McCormack, P., & Hansen-Lohrey, C. (2021). Accountability, government decisions and future generations: lessons from the Australian Ombudsman. In J. Linehan, & P. Lawrence (Eds.), Giving Future Generations a Voice: Normative Frameworks, Institutions and Practice (pp. 128-148). Cheltenham, United Kingdom: Edward Elgar Publishing.
    DOI
    2019 McCormack, P. (2019). Reforming restoration law to support climate change adaptation. In A. Akhtar-Khavari, & B. J. Richardson (Eds.), Ecological Restoration Law: Concepts and Case Studies (pp. 265-287). London: Routledge.
    DOI
  • Theses

    Year Citation
    2018 McCormack, P. (2018). Australia's legal frameworks for biodiversity conservation: facilitating adaptation in a rapidly changing world. (PhD Thesis, University of Tasmania).
  • Internet Publications

    Year Citation
    2018 Gogarty, B., Fitzgerald, N., & McCormack, P. (2018). Green light for Tasmanian wilderness tourism development defied expert advice. The Conversation.
    2016 Lee, E., McCormack, P., Michael, P., Molloy, S. W., Mustonen, T., & Possingham, H. (2016). The language of science: Essential ingredients for indigenous participation. [square brackets], Convention on Biological Diversity.
    2016 McCormack, P., & McDonald, J. (2016). We can't save all wildlife, so conservation laws need to change. The Conversation.
    2016 McCormack, P. (2016). Negotiating 'one-stop shop' reforms: Commonwealth-state relations and the public interest. LexisNexis Australian Environment Review.
  • 2024, Spencer Foundation, 'Youth voices in deliberative democracy: building adaptive capacity for climate changed futures in education' ($58,488).
  • 2023, Green Adelaide, Blue Carbon Grant Scheme, 'Navigating the legal regime for blue carbon projects in South Australia' ($46,883).
  • 2023, United Firefighters Union of Australia, 'Institutional arrangements and powers for Australia's state and territory fire agencies' ($17,300).
  • 2023, ARC Discovery Project (DP240100719) 'Using conservation covenants for ecosystem restoration and climate adaptation' ($302,846).
  • 2023, North East NSW Forestry Hub consultancy, 'Legal and Policy Barriers to Cultural Burning' ($45,100).
  • 2023, Natural Hazards Research Australia, awarded an Early Career Research Fellowship to establish an international network of experts in fire law and policy ($8,000).
  • 2023, University of Adelaide International Fellows Award, supporting visit to Adelaide by inaugural fellow, Assoc/Prof Daan van Uhm (University of Utrecht) ($20,000).
  • 2023, University of Adelaide Sustainability FAME Grant, 'Mapping the Gaps: Building capacity to improve legal frameworks for environmental crime in Australia' ($19,803).
  • 2022, National Environmental Science Programme (NESP) Project 3.7, Grant for 'Legal and Policy Frameworks for Blue Carbon in Australia' ($304,902).
  • 2022, Natural Hazards Research Australia, awarded an inaugural Early Career Research Fellowship ($15,000).
  • 2021, The University of Adelaide, Digi+ FAME Strategy Initiate Grant, 'The role of law in advancing carbon abatement technologies and markets to support Australia's transition to net-zero emissions' ($14,702).
  • 2019, Commonwealth Department of Environment and Energy consultancy, 'Negative Emissions: Survey and Outlook' ($80,000).
  • 2019, UTAS College of Arts, Law and Education Hothouse Grant for a project titled, 'Governing Bushfire in Australia' ($6,275).
  • 2018, Institute for the Study of Social Change Write-Up Fellowship ($3,000).
  • 2017, Winner of the Australian Academy of Law essay competition ($10,000).
  • 2017, Sun Foundation Women in Science Prize competition, Earth, Environment & Space Category ($20,000), drawing on papers Phillipa co-authored in Science and Biological Reviews.
  • 2016, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility grant to research climate-adaptive conservation objectives in law ($5,000).
  • 2015, Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists Scholarship and participant in Scholarship Masterclass Program.
  • 2015, Neasy Faculty of Law Postgraduate Scholarship, University of Tasmania ($600).
  • 2015, University of Tasmania, Arts, Business and Law Hub cross-disciplinary grant for research project into conservation objectives in law ($6,000).
  • 2014, McDougall Faculty of Law Postgraduate Scholarship ($7,230).
  • 2013-2018, Australian Postgraduate Award, PhD Scholarship, University of Tasmania.
  • 2013-2018, University of Tasmania Faculty of Law Top-Up Scholarship.

Phillipa has coordinated units and programs in Administrative Law, Parliamentary Law, Practice and Procedure, and Law Honours Research Methods; and guest lectured on climate adaptation law, biodiversity conservation law, environmental law reform, bushfire and disaster laws and climate litigation.

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

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2024 Co-Supervisor Crimes Against Wildlife: An Analysis of Criminal Networks in the Transnational Trade of Flora and Fauna Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Rhianna Mary-Ellen Hamilton
  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2023 - 2023 Principal Supervisor Building an Australian Nature Repair Market with integrity, ambition and teeth Queensland University of Technology Social Justice Unit, QUT, in my role as Education Director, National Environmental Law Association Other Part Time Ethan Kumar
    2022 - ongoing Principal Supervisor What legal interventions can contribute to achieving access to justice in the context of climate-driven disasters? The University of Adelaide - Master Full Time Isabelle Quek
    2022 - 2022 External Supervisor Providing a legal evidence base for environmental law reform in Australia National Environmental Law Association Social Justice Unit Queensland University of Technology Other - Benjamin Musgrave
    2022 - 2022 External Supervisor Species extinction under Australian biodiversity laws National Environmental Law Association Social Justice Unit Queensland University of Technology Other - Patrick Cenita
    2022 - 2022 External Supervisor Species extinction under Australian biodiversity laws National Environmental Law Association Social Justice Unit Queensland University of Technology Other - Alexandria Brown
    2020 - 2020 Principal Supervisor The concept of ‘naturalness’ in Australian conservation laws: Implications for CRISPr as a conservation tool The University of Tasmania - Honours Full Time Tanja Mutton
    2020 - 2020 Principal Supervisor Commonwealth power to declare an emergency: A bushfire case study The University of Tasmania - Honours Full Time Naomi Hauser
    2019 - ongoing External Supervisor Adaptation to the Public Health Impacts of Climate Change through Law University of Tasmania - Doctorate - Jennifer Brown

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