Associate Professor Justine Bell-James

Associate Professor

School of Law
Faculty of Business, Economics and Law
+61 7 336 56588


Justine Bell-James is an Associate Professor at the TC Beirne School of Law with expertise in environmental and climate change law and climate change litigation. She holds a PhD from QUT (2010) and was a postdoctoral research fellow at UQ's Global Change Institute from 2011-2013. Justine’s research focuses on legal mechanisms for protection of the coast under climate change, incorporating both human settlements and coastal ecosystems. She currently leads an ARC Discovery Project (2019-2022) considering how coastal wetland ecosystem services can be integrated into legal frameworks. Justine is also an expert on legal mechanisms to facilitate blue carbon projects in Australia and internationally, and she was involved with the development of a blue carbon methodology under Australia's Emissions Reduction Fund. Justine's work is highly interdisciplinary and she is an affiliated researcher with UQ's Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science. Her recent collaborations and consultancies have involved colleagues from science, industry, NGOs, government and legal practice.

Justine also has expertise in climate change litigation, and her work on opportunities for litigation under Queensland's Human Rights Act 2019 has underpinned the first test case in this area.

Research Interests

  • Climate change and the coast
  • Blue Carbon
  • Protection and restoration of coastal ecosystems
  • Land tenure, ownership and use of the intertidal zone

Research Impacts

A model national legal framework for mangrove ecosystem services

The rapid rate of mangrove loss globally is of great concern due to the critically important ecosystem services these coastal environments provide. The Australian coast is significantly lined with these plants (18%), making it important that our national and state legal frameworks efficiently manage and protect these valuable resources. This project aims to identify current legal deficiencies, and policy barriers, and canvas expert opinion to generate consensus for an innovative legal framework that recognises and protects the multiple ecosystem services provided by mangroves. It is anticipated the framework will be adaptable to provide significant benefits to other ecosystems and jurisdictions.

This research is funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council. ARC Discovery Grant (DP190101185).


  • PhD, Queensland University of Technology
  • Graduate Diploma in Law, Queensland University of Technology
  • Bachelor of Laws, Queensland University of Technology


View all Publications


  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision


Featured Publications


Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Note for students: Associate Professor Justine Bell-James is not currently available to take on new students.

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Master Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision