Professor Lisa Toohey

Professor Lisa Toohey

Law & Justice
School of Private & Commercial Law

Professor Lisa Toohey teaches and researches in international trade law and the impact of international law on the commercial sphere.   At a domestic level her teaching and research is focussed on the use of legal information, legal design and innovation, and dispute resolution.  

Underpinning her research is a passion to understand how individuals and groups understand and interpret their rights in order to resolve disputes at international, domestic, and transactional levels - and how better-designed systems and information can improve access to justice.   This includes a focus on how states in the Asia-Pacific region engage with the international law system and resolve disputes, how mediation can be better used to address multi-issue public international law disputes, how individuals in civil disputes access and interpret legal information, and how legal design can be used as a tool to better facilitate understanding of legal information.  

In 2020, she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to pursue her research at the University of Texas at Austin, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Lisa is an assessor for the Research Grants Council (Hong Kong), a nominated member for Australia of the Asian WTO Research Network, and a founding member of the UNSW China International Business and Economic Law (CIBEL) Centre.  Past roles have included serving  two terms on the Executive Council of the Society of International Economic Law, Senior Fellow of the Institute of International Economic Law at Georgetown University, founder and past President of the Australasian Dispute Resolution Network, and  member of the Sparke Helmore Transformation Working Group,

Lisa also has a strong record of service at Faculty and School level at current and previous institutions, including  Faculty Associate Dean (Education) at UNSW,  Law School Deputy Dean (Academic), Law School Deputy Dean (Research), and Faculty Associate Dean (Equity Diversity and Inclusion) at the University of Newcastle.

Prior to academia, Lisa practised commercial law in Australia at Corrs Chambers Westgarth and in Vietnam at Baker & McKenzie, where she developed expertise in  WTO law, dispute resolution, and general commercial practice.  She has worked across East, Southeast, and Central Asia on international law and dispute resolution projects funded by the Australian, US and Canadian governments and with international donors such as the Asian Development Bank.  These projects have developed trade law and dispute resolution capacity within the region, including in Vietnam, Azerbaijan and Myanmar, and through work in Australia with visiting delegations from Thailand, China, and Iraq.   She has taught as a visiting professor at the Centre Franco-Vietnamien de Formation à la Gestion at the National Economics University of Vietnam, at Naresuan University Thailand,  at the University of Lausanne, and at the National Taipei University of Business.

+61 2 9385 9519
Room 248 Law Building

I am currently lead CI on two major (Cat 1) grants:

(1) Global Agricultural Trade and Traceability: International Models and Future Architecture. Funded under the National Agriculture Traceability Grants Program, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. 

(2) Australia and Weaponised Trade: Threats and Responses. Funded under the Strategic Research Grants Program, Department of Defence.


Other recent grants have included: 

  • Blockchain and Wine Provenance: blockchain-enabled information technologies and their influence over consumers’ purchasing behaviour.  Industry-funded (Cat 3)
  • Legal Design & Innovation  Industry-funded (Cat 3)
  • Mentoring women from regional Australia to realise their educational and career aspirations in business and law.   Department of Education and Training (Cat 1)