BA (Monash), LLB (Monash), LLM (QUT), PhD (Melbourne)
Law and Legal Studies

Professor Heather Douglas is a Professor of Law at The University of Queensland. She has published widely in the areas of domestic violence, child protection and on a range of criminal justice issues. Her work examines both how law impacts on and constructs women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other potentially vulnerable groups, and also how these groups use legal processes.

Professor Douglas’ research has made important contributions to public debate and law reform in a range of contexts including domestic and family violence, especially around criminal law responses to it and in relation to the role of protection orders. Her ARC Future Fellowship (2015-19) will have a significant impact in bringing to light women’s experiences of coercive and controlling violence and their efforts to change their circumstances using the law. She was the lead researcher and project co-ordinator with the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration on the development of the National Domestic and Family Violence Bench Book, a project funded by the Australian Commonwealth Government. Her research has also had a significant influence on promoting the recognition of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in criminal matters in Australia. In both of these areas her work has been discussed extensively in government reports, including law reform commission reports; and her expertise is often sought for evidence to a variety of deliberative and policy bodies.

Professor Douglas was lead investigator on the Australian Feminist Judgments Project funded by the Australian Research Council (2012-2015). The project advanced scholarship of feminist jurisprudence and legal education through the re-imagining and re-writing of original judicial decisions from a feminist perspective, interviews with judicial officers and mapping feminist-driven law reforms.

Heather Douglas has held visiting fellowships at distinguished universities including IAS, Durham and Oxford Universities. She was a part-time Commissioner for the Queensland Law Reform Commission (2001-2007) and a member of the Queensland Child Death Review case panel (2016-2017). She is currently a Director of the Board for Queensland’s DVConnect (2015 to present) and has been a longstanding member of the Advisory Group for the Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence (2003 to present). Prior to joining academia, Professor Douglas practised as a Solicitor and Barrister of the Supreme Courts of Victoria, Northern Territory, and Queensland.

  • Member, Australian Research Council College of Experts (Humanities and Creative Arts panel) appointed 2016.
  • Director, Board of DVConnect, appointed 2015.
  • Commissioner, Queensland Law Reform Commission, 2000-2007.
  • Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.
  • Australian Research Council Future Fellow 2015-2019
  • Institute of Advanced Studies Fellow, Durham University, 2016.
  • Australian Award for University Teaching (AAUT) Programs that Enhance Learning (UQ Pro Bono Centre) 2016.
  1. Australian Institute of Judicial Administration, 2017, National Domestic and Family Violence Bench Book, (Douglas H: Project lead) <http//>
  2. Douglas, H 2017, Legal systems abuse and coercive control. Criminology and Criminal Justice, online first.
  3. Douglas, H2016, Sexual violence, domestic abuse and the feminist judge. Journal of International and Comparative Law, 3 2: 317-343
  4. Douglas, H, Bartlett F, Luker T and Hunter R, eds., 2014, Australian Feminist Judgments: Righting and Rewriting the Law, Hart, Oxford.
  5. Douglas, H and Finnane, M 2012, Indigenous Crime and Settler Law: White Sovereignty After Empire, Palgrave Macmillan, London.