Emilie McDonnell is an MPhil candidate at University College and is the 2016 Tasmanian Rhodes Scholar. Her research focuses on protecting the human rights of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants when migration control has been outsourced to third states and private actors. Her areas of interest include refugee law, human rights law and public international law. Prior to the MPhil, she completed the BCL with Distinction in 2017 and holds a Bachelor of Arts (Criminology) and a Bachelor of Laws, with First Class Honours in Law, from the University of Tasmania. Emilie has also completed her Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice and has been admitted to the Tasmanian Supreme Court as an Australian lawyer. In 2013, she co-founded Tasmania’s first community legal centre for refugees, the Tasmanian Refugee Legal Service, with a group of Tasmanian lawyers and community members.


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  • E McDonnell, 'Proprietary rights in the online world: Is a digital footprint property?' (2016) 25 Australian Property Law Journal 69
    This article explores whether a person’s digital footprint, specifically their online accounts and the contents within them, can be property owned by the account user. Despite people living a significant part of their lives online, there is no law in Australia which specifies whether digital footprints are property or a concise legal framework for determining when new concepts can be afforded proprietary rights. The example of classic cars is used to demonstrate that digital footprints can fall within a property law framework and hold proprietary rights. It is concluded that digital footprints are conceptually capable of being property and should be recognised as property under Australian law because they are commercially valuable and no other body of law adequately protects a person’s ability to determine how their digital footprint will be treated after death.
    ISBN: 1038-5959


Research Interests

Refugee law; Human Rights Law; Public International Law; Criminal Law; Criminology

Research projects