Rebecca  Johnston Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Rebecca Johnston


Rebecca is a partner at aviation and aerospace law firm, HodgkinsonJohnston. She advises Australian and international clients on all commercial and regulatory aspects of aviation law. Rebecca is admitted to practice law in Western Australia and New York. She also teaches in the law school at the University of Western Australia.


Rebecca is a partner at aviation and aerospace law firm, HodgkinsonJohnston.

She advises Australian and international clients on a wide range of aviation matters including legislative and regulatory matters, sale and purchase of aircraft and safety and security issues.

Rebecca is admitted to practice as a barrister and solicitor in both the Supreme Court of Western Australia and the High Court of Australia. She is also admitted to practice in New York.

Rebecca has previously worked as a lawyer in Corporate/Mergers & Acquisitions/Capital Markets and Transport & Logistics (Aviation) at a national Australian law firm.  

She also teaches in the law school at the University of Western Australia.

Rebecca completed Law (Honours) and Arts (Politics & International Relations) degrees at the University of Notre Dame Australia. She also studied in Washington DC while undertaking a congressional internship on Capitol Hill.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Aviation law and regulation
    Drone and UAS law and regulation
    Corporate and commercial law

Personal Interests

    Co-Founder and Vice President of Cottesloe Roosters Amateur Football Club (Australian Rules Football)



Featured Title
 Featured Title - International Air Carrier Liability: Hodgkinson Johnston - 1st Edition book cover


Evolving drone law on conference agenda

By: Rebecca Johnston
Subjects: Economics, Finance, Business & Industry, Law

David Swan - The Australian - 22 April 2016

Enforcement of drone regulations is the biggest issue facing the fledgling technology

according to law experts, ahead of a drone law conference to be held in Canberra.

David Hodgkinson and law firm partner Rebecca Johnston of aviation and aerospace specialists HodgkinsonJohnston said despite promising developments in modernisation of regulation surrounding unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), questions remain over how any laws would be policed.

“There are regulations being developed which don’t have the necessary force to deal with the state of industry that it’s in now, and there are also obviously big privacy issues,” Mr Hodgkinson told The Australian. “This is an area of law in which incidents will continue to happen, and the law is not currently addressing them. But it is in the process of addressing them.”

The pair said their conference would be the first of its kind, attracting a mix of regulators, government officials, lawyers and commercial operators.

The half-day seminar, to be held at ANU on May 3, will feature speakers including Civil Aviation Safety Authority acting CEO Jonathan Aleck and Australian Certified UAV Operators president Joe Urli.

Under relaxed rules set to take effect later this year, drones under 2kg will no longer need approval from CASA before commencing flight operations for commercial work, though pilots will still need to obtain operator’s certificates.

CASA says it will work on an expanded set of regulations for hobby and consumer-grade drones once its commercial weight approval rules have been implemented.

Mr Hodgkinson said Australia had been the first to regulate UAVs in 2002 and had an opportunity to once again take a lead in the space.

He said he hoped the conference would have a material impact on the review.

“We’ve got a unique opportunity here. We’ve got people from government, people involved in US corporations developing unmanned vehicles, lawyers, and academics. When you’ve got that kind of mix of people the outcomes can often be quite effective,” Mr Hodgkinson said. 


Little firm takes off with big UAVs

By: Rebecca Johnston
Subjects: Economics, Finance, Business & Industry, Law

Saskia Pickles - Business News - 29 September 2015

ONE of Perth’s newest, and smallest, law firms is working with some of the world’s biggest companies, capitalising on a niche area in which few other businesses in the Asia Pacific region have expertise.

Sneaking into the top 100 firms in BNiQ by number of legal professionals, HodgkinsonJohnston set up shop in West Perth four months ago as an aviation and climate change-focused law firm, when David Hodgkinson and Rebecca Johnston left Clayton Utz.

Having forged strong working relationships with large national and international aviation clients at Clayton Utz, Mr Hodgkinson and Ms Johnston were pleased they retained the business at their new firm. 

One of their most interesting projects with a client, which they declined to name but they claim is one of the world’s leading social media companies, involves HodgkinsonJohnston helping develop plans to use large unmanned aerial vehicles, flying at altitudes between 18 and 23 kilometres, to deliver internet to developing countries.

“We’re probably the only law firm in Australia working on UAV projects of the type that we are,” Ms Johnston told Business News.

Mr Hodgkinson said the project was one of their most exciting, as large UAVs, with wingspans longer than a Boeing 737, operated in a largely unsettled area of law, where regulations were still being developed.

“It’s a well-known client, an interesting area of law, it goes to our core areas of competence and also has a degree of difficulty ... so it’s been an exciting project all round,” he said.

While it is commonplace for lawyers in Perth to leave one firm for another, the unique nature of the work Mr Hodgkinson and Ms Johnston carried out at Clayton Utz meant they were in a good position to open a boutique firm.

Mr Hodgkinson told Business News setting up a new venture had allowed them more freedom to pursue legal aviation work as well as their other professional interests such as: writing and editing aviation and climate change policy content; lecturing at the University of Western Australia and the University of Notre Dame Australia; and attending the upcoming Paris Climate Conference Cop21, as part of their work with non-government organisation EcoCarbon.

Mr Hodgkinson said he believed the split from Clayton Utz went as well as could be expected, describing it as an amicable parting after which both parties continued to make cross referrals.