Professor Dale Stephens

Professor Dale Stephens
 Position Professor
 Org Unit Adelaide Law School
 Telephone +61 8 8313 5937
 Location Floor/Room 2 17 ,  Ligertwood Building ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    Professor Dale Stephens CSM is a Captain in the Royal Australian Navy Reserve who spent over 20 years as a permanent officer in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) before taking up his appointment at Adelaide Law School. He has occupied numerous staff officer appointments throughout his career in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), including Fleet Legal Officer, Command Legal Officer (Naval Training Command), Chief Legal Officer Strategic Operations Command, Director of Operational and International Law, Deputy Director of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Military Law (a joint venture with Melbourne University Law School), Director Navy Legal and Director of the Military Law Centre. He has deployed twice to East Timor (INTERFET & UNTAET) and twice to Iraq (Baghdad) in senior legal officer positions and has provided extensive advice to Government at the strategic level. 

    During his time in the ADF, Dr Stephens was involved in providing legal advice regarding numerous operational, disciplinary and administrative law issues, including fisheries, customs and immigration matters within Australia's maritime zones, combined operations with other military forces, UN Peace Operations, drafting Rules of Engagement, implementation of international treaties including the International Criminal Court Convention as well as numerous weapons reviews. 

    In the early 2000's Professor Stephens was part of the Australian delegation to UNESCO negotiating the Underwater Cultural Heritage Convention.  In the mid 2000's he taught at the U.S. Naval War College located in Newport, Rhode Island as a faculty member of the International Law Department. In 2010 was seconded to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet as a senior advisor on Afghanistan.  In more recent years he has taught National Security Law as well as a number of military law subjects at the ANU College of Law.

    Dr Stephens is Director of The University of Adelaide Research Unit on Military Law and Ethics (RUMLAE) and co-editor of the RUMLAE eJournal.  

    He is currently Head of the combined SA/NT Navy Legal Reserve Panel.  

    He is Director of the Adelaide Military Law Program and a member of the Ploughshares/McGill University/George Washington University 'Space Security Index' Consortium. 

    He was awarded his Doctorate from Harvard Law School in 2014. 

  • Qualifications

    B.A. (Flinders); LL.B (Hons) (Adel.); GDLP (SAIT); LL.M (Melb.); LL.M (Harv.); SJD (Harv.)(Dissertation : Lawfare or Law Fair? The Role of Law in Military Decision Making).

  • Awards & Achievements

    Conspicuous Service Medal (2003), Bronze Star (U.S.) (2008), Meritorious Service Medal (U.S.) (2004), Maritime Commander's Commendation (2002), UNTAET PKF Force Commander's Commendation (2001).

    2005 - Joint Winner, Judge Advocate-General Prize for Team Excellence (Joint Operations Command Legal Team).

    2016 Joint Winner (with Prof Melissa de Zwart and Dr Rebecca La Forgia) Executive Dean Award for Excellence for Team Teaching for Cyberwar, Surveillance and Security MOOC.

    2016 Distinguished Practice in Teaching Award for IHL and Advocacy course.

  • Research Interests

    International Law, Law of Armed Conflict, Law of the Sea, Military Operations Law, Use of Force, Space Law. 

  • Publications

    Adelaide University Research Tuesday Presentation (A/Prof Dale Stephens): Modern Lawfare :

    Research 21 Presentation (Autonomous Weapons and the Role of Law - A/Prof Stephens):


    Dale Stephens (with Paul Babie), Co-Editor and Contributer, Imagining Law: Essays in Conversation with Judith Gardam (Adelaide University Press, 2016). 

    Dale Stephens, The Use of Force in Peacekeeping Operations - The East Timor Experience (APCML Monograph, Melbourne, 2005)


    Dale Stephens and Thomas Wooden, 'War Crimes: Increasing Compliance with International Humanitarian Law through International Criminal Law?' in P. Kastner (Ed.) International Criminal Law in Context (Routledge, 2017)

    Dale Stephens (with Rob McLaughlin and Paul Muggleton), Chap 12 'Australian Defence and Military Operations Law and Practice', in Don Rothwell & Emily Crawford (Eds.) International Law in Australia 3rd Edition, (Thomson Reuters, 2016) ISBN: 978045528310.  

    Dale Stephens, 'The Role of Courts and Tribunals' in Robin Warner & Stuart Kaye (Eds.) Routledge Handbbook of Maritime Regulation and Enforcement (Routledge, 2016).

    Dale Stephens, 'Accountability for Violations of the Law of Armed Conflict and the Question of the Efficacy of International Criminal Law in Ameliorating Violence in Armed Conflict' in Jadranka Petrovic (Ed.), Accountability for Violations of international Humanitarian Law - Essays in Honour of Tim McCormack (Taylor & Francis, 2016). 

    Dale Stephens (with Rob McLaughlin), 'International Humanitarian Law in the Maritime Context: Conflict Characterization in Judicial or Quasi-Judicial Contexts' in Derek Jinks, Jackson Nyamuyu Maoqoto & Solon Solomon (Eds.) Applying International Humanitarian Law in Judicial and Quasi-Judicial Bodies: International and Domestic Aspects (TMC Asser Press 2014). 

    Dale Stephens (with Judith Gardam), 'Concluding Remarks: Establishing Common Ground between Feminism and the Military', Gina Heathcote and Dianne Otto (Eds.) Rethinking Peacekeeping, Gender Equality and Collective Security (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

    Dale Stephens, Editorial Contributor, Harvard Manual on International Law Applicable to Air and Missile Warfare (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

    Dale Stephens, 'The Accomodation, Disjunction and Felt Experience of Law in Military Operations' (2012) Working Paper 5.1 in Strengthening The Rule of Law Through the United Nations Security Council, Reg Net/ANU found at: 

    Dale Stephens (with Tristan Skousgaard), 'Naval Demonstrations', 'Military Reconnaissance' and 'Flags and Uniforms', Max Planck Encyclopaedia Of Public International Law (Oxford University Press, 2009).

    Dale Stephens, 'Law of Naval Warfare and Zones' & 'UN Security Council and Maritime Zones' in Jaques, R (Ed.), Maritime Operational Zones (U.S. Naval War College, 2006).


    Dale Stephens, 'Law and War in Outer Space' (2018) 40(2) Law Society of SA Bulletin 32. 

    Dale Stephens, 'Naval Power in the Indian Ocean: Rising Tension, Maritime Governance and the Role of Law', (2016) 37(2) Adelaide Law Review 307 - 324.

    Dale Stephens (with Cassandra Steer), 'Conflicts in Space: International Humanitarian Law and its Application to Space Warfare' (2015) Vol XL Annals of Air and Space Law 71

    Dale Stephens, 'The Age of the Manual - The Impact of the Manual on International Law Applicable to Air and Missile Warfare' (2015) 45 Israel Yearbook on Human Rights 19.

    Dale Stephens, 'Behaviour in War: The Place of Law, Moral Inquiry and Self-Identity' (2014) Vol. 96, No. 895/896 International Review of the Red Cross 751, available on CJO2015. doi:10.1017/S1816383115000235. 

    Dale Stephens, 'The Age of Lawfare' (2011) 87 U.S. Naval War College International Law Studies Series, 327. 

    Dale Stephens, 'Military Involvement in Law Enforcement', (2010) 92 (No. 878) International Review of the Red Cross 453.

    Dale Stephens, 'Counterinsurgency and Stability Operations: A New Approach to Legal Interpretation' (2010) 86 U.S. Naval War College International Law Studies Series 289. 

    Dale Stephens (with Stefan Gruber) 'Cooperation, Friction and Safeguarding: Australia and Indonesia's Security Relationship' (2010) 11(1) Harvard Asia Pacific Review 35.  

    Dale Stephens, 'Blurring the Lines: The Interpretation, Discourse and Application of the Law of Armed Conflict' (2009) 12 Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law 85. 

    Dale Stephens (with Simon Bronitt), 'Flying Under the Radar - The Use of Lethal Force Against Hijacked Aircraft: Recent Australian Developments' (2008) 7(2) Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal 265.

    Dale Stephens (with Angeline Lewis), 'The Targeting of Civilian Contractors under the Law of Armed Conflict' (2006) 9 Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law 25. 

    Dale Stephens, 'Coalition Warfare - Challenges and Opportunities' (2006), 82 U.S. Naval War College International Law Studies Series 245.  

    Dale Stephens, 'Comparative Approaches to Security and Maritime Border Control', (2006) 81 U.S. Naval War College International Law Studies Series 19.

    Dale Stephens (with Michael Lewis), 'The Law of Armed Conflict - A Contemporary Critique' (2005) 6 Melbourne Journal of International Law 55. 

    Dale Stephens, 'The Lawful Use of Force by Peacekeeping Forces: The Tactical Imperative' (2005) 12 International Peacekeeping 157. 

    Dale Stephens, 'The Legal Efficacy of Freedom of Navigation Assertions' (2004) Israel Yearbook on Human Rights 127. 

    Dale Stephens, 'Human Rights and Armed Conflict - The Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice in the Nuclear Weapons Case' (2001) 4 Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal 1.

    Dale Stephens, 'The Impact of the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention on the Conduct of Peacetime Naval/Military Operations' (1999) 29 California Western International Law Journal 283.

    Dale Stephens (with Mark Fitzpatrick), 'Legal Aspects of Contemporary Naval Mine Warfare', (1999) 21 Loyola of Los Angeles International & Comparative Law Journal 553.

    Dale Stephens, 'Rules of Engagement and the Concept of Unit Self Defence', (1998) 45 Naval Law Review 126. 

    Book Reviews

    Dale Stephens, 'International Law, Cases and Materials with Australian Perspectives' by Don Rothwell, Stuart Kaye, Afshin Akhtarkhaven & Ruth Davis (Eds.), (2013) 31 Australian Yearbook of International Law.

    Dale Stephens, 'International Law on Peacekeeping - A Study of Article 40 of the UN Charter' by Hitoshi Nasu, (2011) 29 Australian Yearbook of International Law.

    Dale Stephens, 'Of War and Law' by David Kennedy, (2007) 8(2) Melbourne Journal of International Law 490.

    Dale Stephens, 'The Royal Australian Navy in World War II' (David Stevens Ed.), (2005) 58 U.S. Naval War College Review 153.

    Dale Stephens (with Rosalind Dixon), 'The Dark Sides of Virtue: Reassessing International Humanitariansim' by David Kennedy, (2005) 181 Military Law Review 153. 

    Dale Stephens (with Rosalind Dixon), 'The Dark Sides of Virtue: Reassessing International Humanitarianism' by David Kennedy (2004) 5 Melbourne Journal of International Law 507.



  • Professional Associations

    Director - Adelaide Research Unit on Military Law and Ethics (RUMLAE) 

    Head - SA/NT Combined Navy Reserve Legal Panel

    Member - Australian Yearbook of International Law Editorial Board

    Member - SA Chapter International Law Association Committee 


  • Community Engagement

    Chair - SA Red Cross IHL Committee

    Deputy Chair - Woodcroft College Council

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Entry last updated: Saturday, 1 Sep 2018

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