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Brodies Environmental Law Lecture Series

Edinburgh Law School in association with Brodies LLP hosts the annual Brodies Environmental Law Lecture Series, which commenced in 1993.


Edinburgh Law School is grateful to Brodies LLP for their continuing support for the series, which offers an invaluable forum for the discussion of key developments in environmental law.  Over the years, the Brodies Environmental Law Lecture Series has featured an array of distinguished speakers, covering a range of environmental issues.

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The Charles Smith Memorial Lecture - The British Way of Environmental Protection (23 January 2020)

Speaker: Prof Ben Pontin, Professor of Law, University of Cardiff

Climate Litigation: Systemic Change Through Strategic Use of the Law (5 March 2020)

Speaker: Alice Garton, Legal Director for the Foundation for International Law for the Environment (FILE)

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A decade of marine environmental protection under the Marine (Scotland) Act: progress and prospects (26 March 2020)

Speaker: Calum Duncan, Head of Conservation Scotland, Marine Conservation Society

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Landscape: A Fresh Perspective on the Challenges of Environmental Law (21 March 2019)

Speaker: Dr Victoria Jenkins, Associate Professor at the Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law, Swansea University

The Charles Smith Memorial Lecture - Environmental Principles and UK Environmental Law: Stable Foundations or Minefields? (21 February 2019)

Speaker: Prof Eloise Scotford, Professor of Environmental Law in the Faculty of Laws at UCL

A Human Rights Based Approach to Tackling Air Pollution: What Can It Add? (7 February 2019)

Speaker: Dr Daphina Misiedjan, Assistant Professor at the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights and researcher at the Utrecht Center for Oceans, Water and Sustainability Law (UCWOSL).

The Charles Smith Memorial Lecture - Trade and Climate Policy (31 January 2018)

Speaker: Henry Derwent, former President of IETA

World trade law was created before climate concerns became a matter of major political significance. Acknowledging global external costs associated with the production of traded goods and services does not fit easily into the international legal framework for trade. Over the years, adjustments have been made to texts, case-law and institutions, but there are still significant obstacles in the way of states ensuring their trade will not be undercut if they take the lead in recognising climate externalities. Attempts to free trade in environmental goods and services have bogged down, and the idea of using of trade remedies to incentivise compliance with climate objectives is as controversial as ever. Even where subsidies with obvious adverse climate effects appear to be in breach of WTO principles, no action is taken. Today members of the trade and climate “tribes” are beginning to talk to each other, but finding, let alone implementing, agreement on changes is a huge puzzle. Henry Derwent drew on many years’ experience of negotiation and policy-making to see how it might be solved or worked round.

The Transformation of Environmental Regulation Purpose, Strategies and Principles of Transnational Governance (7 March 2018)

Speaker: Dr Veerle Heyvaert, Associate Professor (Reader) of Law, LSE

Deep Seabed Mining in the Area: Emerging Legal, Environmental and Economic Challenges (19 March 2018)

Speaker: Dr Kristina Gjerde, IUCN Senior Policy Adviser

There is increasing interest worldwide in the potential for deep-sea mining to serve as an engine for “Blue Growth”. At the same time, there are increasing concerns about potential environmental impacts. The International Seabed Authority is currently drafting regulations that will govern mining in the international seabed Area for at least the next 30 years. Under UNCLOS, the Area and its (mineral) resources are to be managed on behalf of [hu]mankind as a whole, with economic, scientific and other benefits shared with the international community, in particular developing states. UNCLOS also requires mining to be managed in a way that ensures effective protection and avoids serious harm. This presentation examined the challenges of implementing these requirements from a legal, environmental and economic perspective and the implications of these challenges for the emerging regulatory regime.

The Charles Smith Memorial Lecture - Regulatory Strategy: Scotland and 'One Planet Prosperity' (6 December 2016)

Mr Terry A'Hearn (CEO of SEPA)

Mr Terry A’Hearn has been Chief Executive Officer at ScottishEnvironment Protection Agency since April 2015. He will talk about regulationin the environmental context, in particular SEPA’s new strategy, “One Planet Prosperity” which focuses on the global challenge of reducing the over-use ofthe planet's natural resources. The joint tasks of innovation, collaborationand prosperity, whilst maintaining environmental integrity are at the heart ofthis strategy.”

Sir David King Lecture (30 January 2017)

The Arctic Ocean, Environmental Challenges and the Role of International Law (2 March 2017)

Speaker: Professor Robin Churchill (University of Dundee)

“The lecture will begin by outlining current threats to the marineenvironment of the Arctic, including global warming and airborne pollution, andthen examine possible future threats, including pollution from shipping andoffshore hydrocarbon activity and the over-exploitation of marine livingresources. The main part of the lecture will then consider the role thatinternational law is playing, or could play, to address those threats."

The Environmental Implications of Redistributive Land Reform

Speakers: Dr Jane Glass, University of the Highlands and Islands, Centre for Mountain Studies (Perth College UHI); Malcom Combe, University of Aberdeen and Advisor to the Land reform review group; Dr Calum Macleod, University of Edinburgh School of Geosciences.

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What we have (not) learned: The Governance of GMOs in the EU

Speaker: Professor Maria Lee, University College of London

The Legal Character of International Environmental Obligations in the Wake of the Paris Climate Change Agreement

Speaker: Jacob Werksman, Principal Adviser, DG-CLIMA, European Commission

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The European Union, the Courts and the Environment

Speaker: Mr.Stephen Tromans QC

The Future of the European Union's renewable energy law and its impact on Member States

Speakers: Prof. Dr. Marjan Peeters from Maastrict University; Mrs Jenny Hogan, Director of Policy at Scottish Renewables; Mr Chris Stark, Deputy Director for Energy and Climate Change and Head of Electricity at the Scottish Government

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15 Years of National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000

Speakers: Mr.Grant Moir, CEO of the Cairngorms National Park Authority; Mr. Peter Rawcliffe, People And Places Unit Manager at Scottish Natural Heritage

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Freshwater and Dispute Settlement

Speaker: Professor Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, Professor of International Law, University of Geneva

Prospects and Proposals for Climate Geo-Engineering: New Challenges for Policy, Law and Regulation

Speaker: Duncan McLaren, McLaren Environmental, Sweden

The EU Internal market and the Environment: Achieving the Right Balance?

Speaker: Professor Nicholas de Sadeleer, Professor of Law, Saint-Louis Brussels

2012/2013 Lecture Series

Round table: The Future of Environmental Regulation and Enforcement in Scotland

Speakers: Bridget Marshall, Head of Operations Legal, Scottish Environment Protection Agency; Professor Colin Reid, University of Dundee

Foreign Investment and the Environment in International Law

Speaker: Jorge Viñuales, Pictet Chair in International Environmental Law, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva

Energy Dependence and Independence

Speaker: Aileen McHarg, Professor of Public Law, University of Strathclyde

2011/2012 Lecture Series

Water Law in a Globalised World: the Need for a New Conceptual Framework

Speaker: Professor Philippe Cullet, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Devolution and the Development of Marine Policy in Scotland

Speaker: Linda Rosborough, Acting Director, Marine Scotland

Compensating Biodiversity Loss in the EU

Speaker: Donald McGillivray, Senior Lecturer, Kent Law School

2010/2011 Lecture Series

Antarctic Governance and Geopolitics

Speaker: Professor Martin Siegert, School of GeoSciences, Edinburgh University

Debate: Environmental Law in the Court Room

Speakers: The Right Hon Sir Robert Carnwath, Court of Appeal, England and Wales; Aidan O’Neill QC

International Environmental Law and Global Warming: New Challenges, New Approaches?

Speaker: Dr Alexander Proelss, University of Trier

2009/2010 Lecture Series

Diagonal Federalism and Climate Change: Implications for the Obama Administration

Speaker: Professor Hari Osofsky, Washington & Lee University School of Law, Virginia

Minding the Gap between Hope and Expectation: Reflections on the UK's Climate Change Act

Speaker: Professor Mark Stallworthy, Law Department, University of Swansea

Shared Competence? Is Room left for National Environmental Policy in the European Union?

Speaker: Dr Hans Vedder, Law Faculty, University of Groningen

The Århus Convention: Its impact on Environmental Law, Governance and Justice

Speaker: Professor Jonas Ebbesson, Director of Stockholm Environmental Law and Policy Centre, University of Stockholm

2008/2009 Lecture Series

The World Bank and Climate Change

Speaker: Professor David Freestone, Deputy General Counsel, The World Bank

The Water Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive: New Relationships between EU and International Law

Speaker: Professor Ellen Hey, Head of Department of Public International Law, Erasmus University of Rotterdam

Financing the switch to a greener economy: does Government have to get back into the energy business?

Speaker: Dr Anthony White, Managing Director, Climate Change Capital

Debate: Environmental law - making it work in the real world

Speakers: Dr Helen Zeally, Agency Board Member, SEPA and President, Scottish Environment LINK; Fraser Lovell, Regional Solicitor, Regulatory Duties, SEPA; Frances McCartney, Solicitor, Environmental Law Centre, Scotland

2007/2008 Lecture Series

Thinking Globally, Acting with Scotland

Speaker: Michael Russell MSP, Minister for Environment, Scottish Government

Let's Get Physical: Civil Liability and the Perception of Risk

Speaker: Professor Chris Hilson, School of Law, the University of Reading; Editor, Journal of Environmental Law

The Role of Environmental Courts in Developing Environmental Law: The Administrative Law Dimension

Speaker: Dr Liz Fisher, Fellow, Corpus Christi College, the University of Oxford

2006/2007 Lecture Series

Human Rights and the Environment

Speaker: Dr Maria Gavouneli, Law Faculty, University of Athens

Fashioning UK Environmental Law under Devolution

Speaker: Mr Tim Jewell, Law and Regulation Directorate-General, DEFRA

Regulation and the Environment: Taking Sanctions Seriously (An Edinburgh Law School Tercentenary Lecture) 

Speaker: Professor Richard Macrory, University College London

2005/2006 Lecture Series

The return of nuclear power: does the current law constrain or promote its use?

Speaker: Professor Cameron, Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral law and Policy, University of Dundee

The international regime on liability and compensation for oil pollution from ships - the environmental aspects

Speaker: Dr Man Jacobsson, Director of the International Oil Pollution and Compensation Funds, London

The EU as climate change leader? The EU emissions trading scheme

Speaker: Dr Charlotte Streck, Climate Focus, Rotterdam

2004/2005 Lecture Series

The EC Environmental Liability Directive - Prevention or Cure?

Speaker: Professor John Usher, University of Exeter

Debate: Community Benefit from Windfarms: Strategies and Practicalities

Speakers: Calum MacDonald MP, Councillor William Ross, Chairman, Sustainable Development Select Committee, Highland Council, Charles Smith, Brodies LLP

Biodiversity, Biotechnology and International Law

Speaker: Professor Catherine Redgwell, University College London

2003/2004 Lecture Series

Who owns the environment? Public trust and the economics of European environmental policy

Speaker: Professor David Pearce OBE, University College London

The reality of implementing the National Waste Plan

Speaker: Dr Colin Clark, Head of Waste Management, Highland Council

Genetically modified crops - the debate continues

Speaker: Professor Robin Grove-White, University of Lancaster

2002/2003 Lecture Series

Johannesburg and the future of International Environmental Law: Greener Still?

Speaker: Professor Alan Boyle, School of Law, University of Edinburgh

Judging Environmental Law: The Task of the ECJ

Speaker: Judge David Edward, European Court of Justice

Tenth Anniversary Conference: Land Stewardship and the Environment

Speakers: Charles Smith, Brodies; Professor George Gretton, School of Law, University of Edinburgh; Andy Wightman, Who Owns Scotland; Malcolm Strang Steel, Scottish Landowners Federation and Turcan Connell; Simon Fraser, Anderson MacArthur & Co

2001/2002 Lecture Series

The role of NGOs in developing Countryside Access and other environmental legislation

Speaker: Lloyd Austin, Head of Policy Operations, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds [Scotland]

Energy versus the Environment: An EU Solution?

Speaker: Professor Leigh Hancher, University of Tilburg

Multinational Enterprises and Environmental Damage: Is Civil Liability the Answer?

Speaker: Dr Michael Anderson, Director of the British Institute for International and Comparative Law

2000/2001 Lecture Series

Implementing an Integrated Transport Policy at a Local Level

Speaker: Councillor Mark Lazarowicz, Executive Member for Transport, Edinburgh City Council

Tangled Webs: Environmental Law in a System of Multi-Level Governance

Speaker: Joanne Scott, University of Cambridge

Risk and the Precautionary Principle

Speaker: Professor Sir Kenneth Calman, Vice-Chancellor and Warden, University of Durham

1999/2000 Lecture Series

New Opportunities and New Challenges in a Devolved Environment

Speaker: Ms Sarah Boyack MSP, Minister for Transport and the Environment, The Scottish Executive

Harmonisation vs. Regulatory Competition in Environmental Law: Getting the Level of Regulation Right

Speaker: Professor Damien Geradin, Associate Professor of Law, University of Liège and Professor, College of Europe, Brussels

Enforcing Public International Law: Recent Developments in the Environment and Trade Regimes

Speaker: Professor Jacob Werksman, Visiting Associate Professor, Institute of Advanced Studies, United Nations University; and FIELD, London

1998/1999 Lecture Series

Environmental Standards: The Interplay of Science, Policy and Public Values

Speaker: Professor Geoffrey Boulton, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Edinburgh University; and Member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution

Carrots without Sticks? New Financial Mechanisms for Global Environmental Agreements

Speaker: Professor Peter Sand, Lecturer in International Environmental Law, University of Munich; former Legal Advisor for Environmental Affairs, The World Bank, Washington DC

Environmental Risk Assessment and Dispute Resolution: a Sustainable Approach

Speaker: Professor Ray Kemp, Manager Risk Services, Europe, Daimes & Moore; Visiting Professor of Risk Management and Risk Communications, University of Surrey

1997/1998 Lecture Series

Changing Perspectives on Civil Liability for Environmental Damage

Speaker: Professor Dr Hubert Bocken, University of Ghent

Beyond Command and Control: the New Legal Mechanisms for Protecting the Environment

Speaker: Professor Michael Purdue, City University, London

Conservation, Designation and Equivocation: Habitat Protection in the United Kingdom

Professor Colin Reid, University of Dundee

1996/1997 Lecture Series

Decontaminating Liability for Contaminated Land

Speaker: Stephen Tromans, Partner and Head of Environmental Law, Simmons & Simmons, London

International Environmental Law Assessed in terms of Cause and Effects

Speaker: Patrick Szell, Head of the International Environmental Law Division, Department for the Environment

European Environmental Standards v. Higher National Interests

Speaker: Professor Jans Jans, Europa Institute, Amsterdam

1995/1996 Lecture Series

Is International Environmental Law Prepared for the Millennium?

Speaker: Professor Patricia Birnie, former Director of the IMO International Maritime Law Institute and Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics

Public Access to Environmental Information: A Means to What End?

Speaker: Professor Jeremy Rowan-Robinson, Professor of Planning and Environmental Law, University of Aberdeen

The Changing EU Treaties and their Effects on Environmental Policy

Speaker: Nigel Haigh, Director of the Institute for European Environmental Policy, London

1994/1995 Lecture Series

Enforcing Environmental Law

Speaker: Lord Slynn, Lord of Appeal and President of the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association

Trade and the Environment: The Search for Balance

Speaker: James Cameron, Director of the Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development

Transporting Environmental Law: Some Legal Reflections on the Royal Commission Report

Speaker: Professor Richard Macrory, Environmental Change Unit, University of Oxford

1993/1994 Lecture Series

Who is to be liable for damage to the environment?

Speaker: Tony Weir, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge

Marine oil pollution compensation with special reference to the BRAER

Speaker: Ben Browne, Clyde & Co., Solicitors

Harmonising civil liability for environmental damage in the European Union

Speaker: Ludwig Krämer, Head of Legal Matters and the Application of Community Law, DG XI of the EC Commission