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Space law expert rejoins University of Adelaide

The University of Adelaide has appointed a leading legal expert to contribute to space law and existing major projects.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 11 September 2023 Big Law
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Professor Melissa de Zwart (pictured) has rejoined the University of Adelaide, where she worked for more than a decade until mid-2021, and she will be based in its Andy Thomas Centre for Space Resources (ATCSR).

She commenced in her new role on 4 September and joined from Flinders University.

Professor de Zwart is also a deputy director at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plants for Space.


Her work looks at the domestic and international legal frameworks that underpin the use of space. This will also, the university said in a statement, underpin her contribution to the recently announced ARC Centre of Excellence in Plants 4 Space.

Professor John Williams, who is the executive dean of the faculty of arts, business, law and economics, said: “The University of Adelaide is delighted that Professor de Zwart is rejoining our community of world-leading researchers.”

“This is a prestigious appointment: Professor de Zwart has an outstanding international profile in the area of international and domestic space law, as well as an extensive track record in internet law. She is undoubtedly a national and international leader in the space law field, and she will make an excellent contribution to this emerging strength for South Australia.”

Professor de Zwart added: “I am very happy to be returning to the University of Adelaide, given its strengths in the areas of defence and space.”

“My role in the ATCSR will give me the opportunity to collaborate with a multidisciplinary team of experts who are focused on solving one of greatest challenges of the future: how to live and work in space in a sustainable way.

“The projects undertaken by the ATCSR provide national and international leadership in the areas of access to and use of outer space. I will be very pleased to continue the work I have been doing with them, since their foundation, as part of the Deep Space Habitation Group and lead of the space law theme.”

The University of Adelaide’s Associate Professor John Culton, who is the director of the ATCSR, said: “Professor de Zwart’s internationally recognised leadership in the field of space law brings critical expertise to our cutting-edge efforts in realising a dynamic and exciting future for humanity in space.”