Sam McNeil
BA, JD (Monash)

Sam McNeil

Graduate at Law


Sam holds a Master of Law (Juris Doctor) and a Bachelor of Arts (Art History and Theory) with distinction from Monash University. She has expertise in art, intellectual property law and international cultural heritage law. Sam draws on her own artistic practice as an oil painter to inform her perspective on intellectual property protection and she is particularly interested in copyright law and artists rights. During her legal studies, Sam was awarded a Monash University scholarship to research intellectual property protection for Indigenous art, misleading and deceptive conduct, moral rights and unconscionable dealing with artists.

Sam has a particular interest in rock art and culturally appropriate legal protection of cultural heritage. She has been privileged to learn from First Nations communities on Kuku Ngyungal and Kuku Yalanji Country on the importance of their rock art to their culture and wellbeing, and she has visited and research international rock art sites and cultural heritage laws.

Photo by Jamie James
Artwork: Bibi Barba, 'Terri - Butterfly Flowers Dreaming' (2020)

Recent projects

  • Presenting on international and domestic sui generis legislation that protects Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Cultural Expression and Genetic Resources;

  • Assisting with research and drafting of reports on the efficacy of cultural heritage legislation within Australia and internationally;

  • Consulting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community on the state of cultural heritage in their community;

  • Researching, consulting for, and assisting with the development of relevant strategies for negotiating rates of pay for sharing cultural knowledge.


Sam is passionate about social justice and has volunteered and worked for the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and Waller Legal. She is a teaching associate at Monash University with the Michael Kirby Centre for Public Health and Human Rights, where she teaches undergraduate students on human rights as it interacts with public health practice. Sam also enjoys painting, practicing yoga and barre, and spending as much time as possible near the ocean. She enjoys getting up early to watch the English Premier League and loves the Spurs.

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