LLM students join dynamic research events to enhance learning

Students on this year’s LLM in Global Environment and Climate Change programme have been getting involved with a range of research events.

Complementing LLM courses, these events expose students to ongoing and recently concluded research projects and to diverse approaches to the understanding of global environmental law.

Students also have the opportunity to develop their ability to discuss critically new findings and to participate constructively in collective thinking on global environmental challenges with academics, PhD students and practitioners.

BENELEX insights

Throughout the year, LLM students had the opportunity to exchange ideas on the preliminary findings of the BeneLex project ("Benefit-sharing for an equitable transition to the green economy - the role of law"), funded by the European Research Council and led by Dr Elisa Morgera.

In autumn 2014, BeneLex shared findings on the emergence of fair and equitable benefit-sharing in international environmental law and its linkages with international human rights law, particularly the rights of indigenous peoples; and on equity in the climate regime from a benefit-sharing perspective.

In addition, a workshop on ‘Benefit sharing in environmental law: international and European perspectives’ together with the Ius Commune Research School brought together researchers from the law schools of the universities of Amsterdam, Leuven, Maastricht and Utrecht. Discussions focused on benefit-sharing in international and EU law on biodiversity, climate change and water, as well as in the specific context of the Greek island of Ikaria, which had recently been visited by the BeneLex team.

During spring 2015, BeneLex presented an inter-disciplinary methodology for understanding the diffusion of benefit-sharing at global, national and local levels, taking into account the role of politics and power asymmetries in ensuring equitable approaches to environmental protection and natural resource management; as well the role of benefit-sharing in international law on land, food and agriculture.

These events also attracted leading experts as discussants:

·  Professor Ellen Hey (Erasmus University, Rotterdam)

· Professor Francesco Francioni (European University Institute, Florence)

· Dr Harro van Asselt (Stockholm Environment Institute, Oxford Center)

· Dr Lorenzo Cotula (International Institute for the Environment and Development, Edinburgh).

In April, Dr James Harrison contributed to the BENELEX project by presenting his thoughts on the role of benefit-sharing in the law of the sea. 

Brodies LLP Environmental lectures

In addition, students benefited from the annual lecture series on environmental law sponsored by Brodies LLP, a leading Scottish law firm.

The series, organised by Dr Apolline Roger, featured a first lecture on ‘The European Union, the Courts and the Environment’ delivered by Stephen Tromans QC. Mr Tromans drew from his extensive experience on the relationship, which is sometimes conflicting, between the European Court and the Courts of the Member States in environmental matters.

The second lecture on ‘The future of the European Union's renewable energy law and its impact on Member States’ was delivered by Professor Marjan Peeters, Maastricht University, who engaged in a debate with two practitioners: Jenny Hogan, Director of policy at Scottish Renewables, and Chris Stark, Deputy Director for Energy and Climate Change and Head of Electricity at the Scottish Government.

The third seminar was delivered by Grant Moir, CEO of the Cairngorms National Park Authority and Peter Rawcliffe from Scottish Natural Heritage, on the topic ‘15 Years of National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000’. All Brodies lectures were followed by an open discussion on the manner in which environmental law is called upon to respond to ever increasing pressures on the natural world caused by human activities. 

Additional opportunities

Furthermore, three ad hoc events were organised to discuss recently published research.

Dr Kirsty Gover, (University of Melbourne) presented on The Impact of Climate Change Mitigation on Indigenous and Forest Communities: International, National and Local Law Perspectives on REDD+’.

Dr Harro van Asselt (Stockholm Environment Institute, Oxford Center) returned to Edinburgh to present on ‘The Fragmentation of Global Climate Governance’, comparing different types of interactions, and legal techniques to foster synergies, between the international climate and biodiversity regimes.

Finally, Dr Lalanath de Silva (World Resource Institute) shared an insider's perspective on the effectiveness of the Asian Development Bank’s Accountability Mechanism in addressing environment-related concerns of project-affected communities.

Applications for the LLM in Global Environment and Climate Change are open until 31st July.

Find out more here.