Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Dr Mark Shepheard

Dr Mark Shepheard

PhD (Law), Master of Science in Environmental Change and Management, GradDip of Sustainable Agriculture, Bachelor of Applied Science in Ecology and Natural Resources


  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Ecology and Natural Resources, University of Canberra
  • Graduate Diploma of Sustainable Agriculture, University of Sydney
  • Master of Science in Environmental Change and Management, University of Oxford
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Law), University of New England

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  • LAW312 Resources Law: Contemporary Issues in Primary Production

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Water Stewardship Obligations: Obligations associated with access to and use of water sit at the threshold of private resource use rights and public resource conservation interests. This research has primarily evaluated sustainable catchment management approaches in multiple jurisdictions for the extent that they effectively define stewardship expectations of resource user rights and interests as they attempt to connect resource access and use with landscape ecological limits, and the social wellbeing of communities. The research has defined an eco-socio-legal analysis to interrogate and extend resource user accountability for sustainability. Reasonable use and the general interest in water are key concepts within this work.

Property Rights and Renewable Energy Generation in Rural Landscapes: With increased demand for renewable energy generation, renewable providers are casting their sights over rural lands for opportunities to establish wind and/or solar generation infrastructure. This scoping research seeks to establish the implications of these developments for proprietary interests in land.

Right to Farm: A right to farm is largely understood as a lawful standard of practice granting farmers a freedom to operate without fear of interference or prosecution from third parties. A flaw with this view is that the standard of practice underpinning the right may vary along a spectrum from observance of minimum standards of reasonable practice at one end; to an elevated standard of reasonable performance for a variety of wellbeing outcomes at the other end of the spectrum. The right to farm does indeed provide a freedom to operate, not because it is a legally sanctioned right, but because it provides focus for a process to enable a farmer’s responsibility that is by necessity socially sanctioned within particular circumstances.

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Selected Publications

Mark Shepheard, 2018. Stewardship arrangements for water: An evaluation of reasonable use in sustainable catchment or watershed management systems. Chapter 7 in Bartel, Noble, Williams, and Harris (eds.) Water Policy, Imagination and Innovation: Interdisciplinary Approaches, Routledge. ISBN: 97811387293.

Mark Shepheard, 2017. ‘Australian Seed Banks: Moving toward the seed and seed data collection practice in the context of Indigenous people, knowledge and traditions?’, Chapter 6 in Stoianoff (ed), Indigenous Knowledge Forum - Comparative Systems for Recognising and Protecting Indigenous Knowledge and Culture, Lexis Nexis. ISBN9780409340662

Mark L Shepheard, 2017. Farming, Good Neighbours, and Protecting the General Interest in Water Resources: How Effective is the Promise of Sustainable Watershed Management in Quebec? McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law 13(2): 275-298.

Lucy A Sutherland and Mark L Shepheard, 2017. Implementing Access and Benefit Sharing for Seed Banking. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 102(2): 386-396.

Bettina Lange and Mark Shepheard, 2014. ‘Changing Conceptions of Rights to Water?’ An Eco-Socio-Legal Perspective. 26 Journal of Environmental Law, 215-242, doi: 10.1093/jel/equ013.

Mark Shepheard, Mark Perry, and Paul Martin, 2014. What do you really need to know? An overview of the challenges associated with the management of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge by seed bank institutions. NintiOne Working Paper CW018 (CRC for Remote Economic Participation) ISBN: 978-1-74158-253-6, 13p.

Mark Shepheard and Bettina Lange, 2013. ‘Is there still an Economic Right to Water? An analysis of the intersection of rights and regulatory regimes’ Policy Brief, The Foundation for Law, Justice and Society. 8p. <>.

Mark Shepheard and Roland Norer, 2013 ‘Increasing water stewardship responsibility: Water protection obligations and watershed management policy affecting farmers’ in Lucerne, Switzerland.’ 15(2) Environmental Law Review 121-138. doi 10.1350/enlr.2013.15.2.181.

Mark L Shepheard, 2012. ‘The potential for improved water management using a legal social contract.’ 22(2/3) The Journal of Water Law (Special Issue on Institutional Transitions and Water Law Reform) 95-108. ISSN 1478-5277.

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Endeavour Award, Australian Government, Improved Water Management and a Social Contract for Water in NZ, 2010;

Swiss National Science Foundation, International Visiting Researcher Award, Catchment Contracts for Water Protection in the Lucerne Midland Lakes Region, 2011

British Academy Seed Grant, £8 000, Rights and Responsibilities for Water Stewardship in England, 2012

Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, $140 000 (Canadian Dollars), Protecting the General Interest in Water Resources in Quebec, 2012-2013.

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Professional Memberships

  • Associate Member, European Council for Agricultural Law (CEDR)
  • Member, World Union for Agricultural Law (UMAU)
  • Member, Australian Farm Institute

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  • Australian Endeavour Postdoctoral Fellowship Award at Lincoln University (NZ) 2010;
  • Swiss National Science Foundation, International Visiting Researcher at the University of Lucerne, Switzerland, 2011;
  • British Academy visiting scholar at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford 2012;
  • Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship at McGill University, Canada 2012 - 2013;
  • Richard Macrory Prize for the Best Paper in the Journal of Environmental Law, 2014;
  • University of New England Postdoctoral Fellowship 2014 - 2017.

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