John Southalan

+44 (0) 1382 384300
Honorary Lecturer


John is an Honorary Lecturer and Member of the CEPMLP Global Academic Team. He worked full time at the Centre, as the Rio Tinto Research/Teaching Fellow, from 2007-2010.

John is a barrister in the Western Australian Bar Association. He advises and represents clients regarding resources issues in both litigious and non-litigious matters. John has considerable experience in in contract drafting and disputes, mining applications, compensation obligations & structures, and occupational health & safety. His work has also covered mining regulation in advising regulators, mining companies, land owners, communities and non-government organisations. John has assisted various government agencies (in Australia and internationally) on mining law reform.

John is also an adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Western Australia (Law School). In his work there, and with CEPMLP, John researches and teaches in mining regulation and also on human rights and resources. He has published and presented on topics including human rights and business, mining regulation, climate change, Indigenous rights, minerals taxation, CSR regulation, and mining agreements.

John is a member of the Australian Mining and Petroleum Law Association, International Bar Association, International Law Association, Law Society of Western Australia, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, and Western Australian Bar Association. He undertakes extensive volunteer work including for the Law Council of Australia (member of the Business and Human Rights Committee), Environmental Defender’s Office of Western Australia (volunteer lawyer) and the Burma Lawyers’ Council (adviser & trainer). John has also acted as a peer-reviewer for research councils and numerous academic journals and publishers.

John holds a law degree from the University of Western Australia and MBA in Mineral Resource Management from the University of Dundee.


Research interests include mining regulation, sustainable development and rule of law issues.

Main publications and presentations:

2017       ‘Say what? The regulation of company statements arising from UNGP processes’ 1(1) Newsletter of the IBA Human Rights Law Committee

               Human rights and mining companies: standards and procedures, World Initiative of Mining Lawyers Annual Conference (Spain 2017)

2016       ‘Human rights and business lawyers: the 2011 watershed’ 90 Australian Law Journal 889-907

2015       Parliaments and Mining Agreements: Reviving the Numbed Arm of Government (co-written) International Mining for Development Centre

               Human rights law and Mining, Centro Políticas Públicas (Pontifical Catholic University of Chile), Santiago, 26 March 2015

2013       'Parliamentary-ratified agreements in the resources sector' in Long Term Contracts (Federation Press)

               'Climate change, law, and criminology', OGEL Journal(Oil, Gas & Energy Law Intelligence)

2012       Mining Law and Policy: International Perspectives, Federation Press (Australia)

2011       'Common Law v Human Rights: Which Better Protects Freedoms?', Brief, December 2011, 10-14

               'What are the implications of human rights for minerals taxation?', Resources Policy, vol 36(3), 214-226

2008       CSR, the environment, and false advertising laws. Paper for 'CSR and Our Planet' session at International Bar Association Annual Conference, Buenos Aires, October 2008.

2009       'Let’s hope it’s a small elephant in a big room: sustainable development and human rights', paper to Accountability and Human Rights Symposium (University of St Andrews, 1 Sept, Economic & Social Research Council Research Seminar Series).

2007       (with Kanaga Dharmananda) 'Hurdles for the judiciary: the application of the Beijing Principles in Australia', paper for Law and Public Policy: Taming the Unruly Horse? (Australasian Law Teachers Association Conference)

               'Burma and the common law? An Uncommon question', Thailand Law Journal 2007 Spring (Issue 1) Volume 10

2004       'Impunity and Judicial Independence', Legal Issues on Burma Journal, vol 17, 40-90

1999       Campaign Against National Security Laws in Asia Pacific: A Guide Book, Asia Pacific Human Rights NGOs Facilitating Team, March 1999


Teaches Distance Learning Modules for:

International and Comparative Mineral Law (CP50040)

The module provides an introduction to the main legal and policy issues in the mining industry, with an emphasis on the common methods within which mining is regulated. The approach is a comparative one and focuses on techniques applicable in various settings and countries, noting the influence of law, economics, finance, technical aspects and geology. Students will acquire understanding of the key law and policy issues relating to the regulation of mining, including the ownership of minerals and application for rights to mine; and the effects that mining can have, on environment and communities, and how these are addressed.