The University of Western Australia

UWA Staff Profile

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Lauren Butterly

Ms Lauren Butterly

Honorary Fellow
Adjunct and Honorary Staff (Law School)

Contact details
Adjunct and Honorary Staff (Law School)
The University of Western Australia (M253)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 2 6125 4680
LLB BA W.Aust.
BA/LLB (1 Hons) W.Aust.
Grad Dip (Legal Practice)

Lauren Butterly is a Lecturer in the ANU College of Law at the Australian National University and an Honorary Fellow in Law at the University of Western Australia. She researches in the areas of water law, environmental law and Indigenous Peoples and the law with a particular focus on Indigenous marine governance. Lauren graduated with First Class Honours from UWA and completed her honours dissertation in the areas of water law and native title. Following graduation, Lauren served as the Principal Associate to Chief Justice Wayne Martin of the Supreme Court of Western Australia and then worked in the environmental law team of a national law firm in Sydney.

Lauren is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of New South Wales. Her PhD topic is: "Turning the Tide of Aspirations into Legal Implications: Exploring the way forward for Indigenous governance of Sea Country in Australia"
Key research
Lauren has research interests in the areas of water law, environmental law, administrative law and Indigenous Peoples and the law (including international comparative Indigenous Peoples and the law). Currently, her particular research area is Indigenous marine governance.
A. Kwaymullina, B. Kwaymullina and L. Butterly, 'Living Texts: A Perspective on Published Sources, Indigenous Research Methodologies and Indigenous Worldviews' (2013) 6(1) International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies. Available at

L. Butterly, 'Clear Choices in Murky Waters: Leo Akiba on behalf of the Torres Strait Regional Seas Claim Group v Commonwealth of Australia' (2013) 35(1) Sydney Law Review 237. Available at:

L. Butterly 'Keeping the Engine Room Running: Key Themes and Developments in Water Resources Management in the Pilbara Region of Western Australia' (2012) 15(2) Australasian Journal of Natural Resources Law and Policy 191.

L. Butterly and J. Ruru, 'Indigenous fishing rights' [2014] New Zealand Law Journal 47.

L. Butterly, 'Watch this (sea) space: native title, fisheries legislation and marine management' (2013) 28(9) Australian Environment Review 756.

L. Butterly, ' Native title rights, regulations and licences: the Torres Strait Sea Claim', 8 August 2013:

L. Butterly, C. Duarte and B. Kwaymullina, 'Environment Day 2013: Caring for Country, including Sea Country, brings value to society', 5 June 2013:

L. Butterly, ‘Unfinished Business in the Straits: Akiba v Commonwealth of Australia [2013] HCA 33 (2013) 8(8) Indigenous Law Bulletin 3.

L. Butterly and E. Fearis, 'Casenotes: Public Service Association (SA) Inc v Industrial Relations Commission (SA)' (2012) 20 Australian Journal of Administrative Law 11.

L. Butterly,"Rough seas ahead (and behind):
Governance at the intersection of environmental law and Indigenous management of Sea Country" (Paper presented at the Australian Political Studies Association Annual Conference, Murdoch University, Perth, September - 2 October 2013).

L. Butterly, "Is Australia about to Fall off the Edge? The Torres Strait Sea Claim and the Way Forward for Indigenous Marine Governance" (Paper delivered at the Law on the Edge conference (Canadian Law and Society Association and the Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, 4 July 2013).

L. Butterly and E. Techera, "'No Legal Implications’: Then and now? Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Indigenous Marine Governance in Australia” (Paper delivered at the Australia and New Zealand Legal History Society Conference, Sydney, 11 December 2012).

L. Butterly, “It's all about water: Water resource management and law developments in the Pilbara” (Paper delivered at the Resources and Energy Law Association WA State Conference, Perth, 18 May 2012).

Submission to the Western Australian Department of Water on the Pilbara Groundwater Allocation Plan Draft Report, released October 2011 (January 2013).
Funding received
L. Butterly, 2012, 'UWA Supplementary Travel Grants - Australia and New Zealand Legal History Society Conference, University of Technology Sydney 2012', UWA Supplementary Travel Grant.
Centre Associate, UNSW Indigenous Law Centre
Australia & New Zealand Law and History Society
Previous positions
Principal Associate to Chief Justice Wayne Martin of the Supreme Court of Western Australia.

Solicitor in the environmental law team of the national law firm Blake Dawson (now Ashurst) in Sydney.

Lauren is admitted as a lawyer in Western Australia, New South Wales and the High Court of Australia.
New and noteworthy
Lauren was interviewed on ABC Radio National and ABC The World Today about the Torres Strait Sea Claim (a case that was handed down by the High Court on 7 August 2013):

Lauren has recently been welcomed as a Member of UWA's Oceans Institute.

Research profile
Research profile and publications

The University of Western Australia

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 2:39 PM