DR Rebecca Nelson

DR Rebecca Nelson


  • Academic, Law
  • Environmental and natural resources law
  • Law and society and empirical legal research
  • Water law and policy



  • Rebecca Nelson is a Senior Lecturer of the Melbourne Law School. Her research focuses on environmental and natural resources law and policy, with an emphasis on empirical research and practical solutions. Dr Nelson holds an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (2018-2020), which aims to analyse and evaluate laws regulating cumulative environmental effects in the United States of America, European Union, Canada and Australia. From 2010-2014, she led the Comparative Groundwater Law and Policy Program, a collaborative initiative between Water in the West at Stanford University and the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. The Program focused on undertaking empirical research and convening stakeholder workshops to improve groundwater sustainability in the western US and Australia.

    In 2014 she was named the Law Council of Australia's Young Environmental Lawyer of the Year for her contribution to water law and environmental law.

    Dr Nelson holds a Doctor of the Science of Law from Stanford University, where her dissertation focused on empirically assessing regulatory arrangements for protecting surface water and ecosystems from the impacts of pumping groundwater. She also holds a Masters in law (Stanford) and Bachelor of Engineering (Environmental) and Bachelor of Laws (University of Melbourne). Dr Nelson formerly worked as a lawyer at the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and in private practice in Australia.   


Selected publications


Investigator on


Education and training

  • JSD, Stanford University
  • JSM, Stanford University
  • BE(Hons1)/LLB(Hons1), University of Melbourne