Skip to Content

Macquarie Law School

Virginia Falk

Virginia Marshall (Falk) 

LLM (ANU); Grad.Dip.Legal Prac. (University of Wollongong); BA (Major sociology) (Hons Communications)(University of Wollongong); Bachelor Training and Vocational Education(Charles Sturt University)
Solicitor to the Supreme Court of NSW and High Court
Golden Key National Honour Society (Wollongong Life Membership)



Dr Virginia Marshall is principal solicitor/director with Triple BL Legal specializing in water law, Intellectual property for Indigenous peoples, patents & Indigenous medicines, native title and commercial law. Virginia is recognised as the leading academic scholar in Aboriginal water rights and interests in Australia. Her doctoral thesis in law won the national W E H Stanner Award for best thesis, voted unanimously by the judges as "a standout in terms of its interest area and scholarship, well-written, well-argued, with an audience beyond the very immediate' and that it 'brought a whole new dimension to water rights in the legal frame". Virginia is a Visiting Scholar with the School of Regulation and Global Governance at the Australian National University in 2017. Virginia and her firm are one of the Partner Organisations' in ARC Linkage Grant 2016 for the research project, 'Garuwanga: Forming a Competent Authority to protect Indigenous Knowledge' with UTS & UNSW (2016-2019).

Past Degrees and Qualifications

PhD (law) Macquarie University (2014)
Master of Laws Australian National University (2003) 
Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice University of Wollongong (2003)
LLB University of Wollongong (2002 
BA Hons. Communications University of Wollongong (2002)
B Voc Ed Training Charles Sturt University (2000).

Title of Thesis

A Web of Water Rights: Examining the competing Aboriginal claim for water property rights and interests in Australia

Thesis Overview

Dr Virginia Marshall's doctoral thesis is a recommended resource for researchers of Australian water rights, particularly those of Indigenous peoples. The research thesis argues that Aboriginal perspectives on water differs fundamentally from the way that water has been constituted in Australian national water reforms, as separable from land and governed by property rights.


Supervisor: Professor Andrew Buck and Assoc. Professor Iain Stewart

Presentations at conferences

  • Keynote Presenter, 'Indigenous Peoples and freshwater/saltwater governance for a sustainable future', 11 & 12 February 2016 Hobart, with the University of Tasmania (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies) and the Australian National University College of Law

  • Presenter, 'Australian National Law Reform Inaugural Conference (2016) ANU Canberra, 14 & 15 April 2016.

  • Keynote Presenter, 'Decolonising Criminal Justice: Indigenous perspectives on social harm', Forum on Indigenous Research Excellence, University of Wollongong, 24 & 25 November 2016.

  • Keynote Presenter, 'Colonial Formations: Connections and Collisions' University of Wollongong, 23, 24 &25 November 2016.

  • Presenter, 'Indigenous Knowledge: Governance Systems for Data Management and Benefit Sharing' Indigenous Knowledge Conference, UTS Sydney, 14 & 15December 2016

Papers published and Publications

  • Dr V Marshall 'Overturning Aqua Nullius: Securing Aboriginal water rights' and foreword by the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG, forthcoming book on 1 February 2017 with Aboriginal Studies Press
  • Dr Virginia Marshall 'A reconstructed metaphor for Aboriginal property rights and interests in Australia: The challenges in normalizing Aboriginal ontology into western concepts of knowledge and resources' in Natalie Stoianoff (ed.) Indigenous Knowledge Forum: Comparative Systems for Recognising and Protecting Indigenous Knowledge and Culture (Lexis Nexis, 2016)
  • Dr Virginia Marshall, 'The progress of Aboriginal water rights & interests in the Murray Darling Basin in NSW: An essential element of culture' Australian Environment Review (Lexis Nexis, 2016)
  • Dr Virginia Marshall, Selected papers from Australian National Law Reform Conference 2016 'Overturning aqua nullius: Pathways to national law reform' (forthcoming March 2017), the Australian National University
  • Dr Virginia Marshall, 'Deconstructing Aqua Nullius: Reclaiming Aboriginal water rights and communal identity in Australia' (2016) Indigenous Law Bulletin
    Issues, Discussion Papers and Final Inquiry Report, Australian Law Reform Commission, Sydney 2011
  • Chapter in Indigenous Australians and the Law (2nd ed, 2008, Routledge-Cavendish London) 'Water: Aboriginal peoples in Australia and their spiritual relationship with waterscapes'
  • 'The Rise and Fall of ATSIC' (2004) Vol8/No4 Australian Indigenous Law Reporter
  • 'Reconciliation Now ? <> September 2004.
  • Public Submission for the proposed National Indigenous Representative Body to the Australian Government 2008 <>
  • Public Submission for the proposed National Indigenous Law and Justice Advisory Body to the Australian Government 2008
  • Western Australian Government Department of Water "Indigenous access to water rights and interests" policy and research for the Water Resources Bill 2008.


  • Macquarie University Law Scholarship for PhD
  • Black Women's Education Foundation Scholarship
  • Duncan Brown Scholarship
  • University of Wollongong Undergraduate Scholarships


As a former musician I love listening to good music of every genre

Living every day and having something positive to affirm

Motivating others to pursue their education goals and to see the intrinsic value in law.


You Can Have It All - One Step At a Time Download Article    

Why choose Macquarie University for your HDR studies?

I chose Macquarie for my HDR studies because my research was valued and my contribution was allowed to develop in view of my parental responsibilities and community interests.