Personal profile

My research in a nutshell

As a climate lawyer my primary research foci are on the regulation of carbon dioxide removals (CDR) and climate constitutionalism. I am an interdisciplinary scholar and routinely co-author with non-lawyers and/or practitioners. My research profile extends across the breadth of climate law, including international regulatory regimes (on the Paris Agreement here and here), regions (e.g. Asia, and EU), institutions (UK Supreme Court, Export Credit Agencies, UNFCCC), technologies (CCS), and legal approaches/practices (Just Transitions, theory, and definitions).

Biography

I have been at Edinburgh Law School since 2003. Previously a barrister in London and Lecturer at King's College London, I undertook my graduate work at the University of Cambridge, the European University Institute (Florence) and the University of California, Berkeley (Fulbright Scholar). 

Current and past community roles include: Director of Alumni Relations; Head of Public Law Subject Area; Convenor, Equality Diversity and Inclusion committee, Society of Legal Scholars (and Executive Committee member); Board Member and Chair of Climate Strategies.

Current Research Interests

Current research projects:
1. C-SINK Removals. Funder: Horizon Europe/European Commission.  €6m. Commenced June 2023 (1/06/23 → 31/5/28). Leading work package on Legal Framework, Regulatory Barriers and Policy Recommendations.
2. Greenhouse Gas Removal technologies - interdisciplinary project on developing GGR tech and defining the conditions in legal, social, and economic terms. £30m, funded by UKRI/NERC. (1/05/21 → 31/10/25). Co-lead (with Sanja Bogojević) on legal and regulatory dimensions. 
3. Oil and Gas Transitions - project across UK/Denmark/Norway to develop just transitions to ending O&G extraction. £0.5m funding from various philanthropies (end 1/09/23). Principal Investigator. 

Recent Projects:
1. Export Credit Agencies - focussing on legal tools to decarbonise ECAs, esp regarding their high carbon investments in Asia. £50k, funded by UK Global Challenges Research Fund. Principal Investigator. 
2. EU-Japanese networking - developing network between EU and Japanese public and environmental lawyers. £50k, funded by UK Economic and Social Research Council. Principal Investigator. 
3. Constitutional Clauses - project to develop climate/net zero constitutional clauses, esp in the global south. Funding University of Edinburgh/philanthropies. See here. Principal Investigator. 

I have been funded by a wide range of research funders (public, private, philanthropic, domestic, and international). These include:
European Commission/Horizon Europe; Economic and Social Research Council; Natural Environment Research Council, the British Academy, Daiwa Foundation, UK Energy Research Council, Laudes Foundation, and the KR Foundation.

Teaching

My research and practices areas deeply influence my teaching in the Global Environment and Climate Change graduate LLM programme, which I have long directed (but no longer!), integrating  cutting edge legal thinking with climate research in cognate disciplines including finance and geosciences.

In 2023/24 I will lead the following modules:
International Climate Change Law (LAWS11245)
Climate Change Litigation: Practice and Theory (LAWS11421)

I also teach on the Business School's Climate Change Risk in Finance

Research students

I welcome PhD applicants in my fields of research. I have supervised eleven doctoral candidates to completion, and am currently supervising a further four - see below for details.

 

Current 

Sabrina Mason, Environmental Tax Policy in the UK: A Means to be Green? (2021, part-time)
Pedro Cisterna Gaete, The Concept of Equitable Adaptation of the Law (2020)
Peter Reid, Constitutions in Space and Time: Sri Lanka, Guyana, and The Gambia (2020)
Chris Jones, The Legal Personality of Political Parties (2016, part-time)

 

Successfully Completed
Dr Dagmar Medeiros, Assessing the standard of legitimacy in the United Nations climate change regime through a compensatory constitutionalism lens (2020)

Dr Yawen Zheng, Towards China’s Development Goals: An Evaluation of the Role Played by China’s Foreign Investment Legal Regime (2020)

Dr Justin Macinante, Effective and flexible emissions trading markets: international emission trading by networking carbon markets on distributed ledger technology architecture – regulatory and institutional frameworks (2019)

Dr Pascal Gotthardt, Quest for truth: unilateral measures within the climate change-trade nexus (2018)

Dr Majid Rizvi, JAG Griffith's Normative Positivism (2015)

Dr Nazli Ismail Nawang, Political Blogs and Freedom of Expression (2015)

Dr David Rossati, International law and the governance of climate finance: navigating global institutional complexity (2015)

Dr Asanga Welikala, Beyond the Liberal Paradigm: National Pluralism and Constitutionalism in Sri Lanka (2015)

Dr TJ Macintyre, Internet Filtering - Implications of the 'Cleanfeed' System (2014)

Dr Handa Abidin, REDD-plus and the protection of indigenous peoples under international law (2014)

Dr Wanli Wang, The Role of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region under China's 'One Country, Two Systems' Principle (2010)

Collaborative Activity

I am a long time member of the leading global research network, Climate Strategies, and chaired its Board from 2020-2023. Climate Strategies has over 100 members (by invitation only) and offices in London and The Hague.

I have also led activist campaigns on climate issues, bringing together influential groupings of concerned academics and scientists. See Open Letter From Climate Scientists.

A significant part of my work consists of engaging with practitioners in the climate world: legal professionals, public bodies, and civil society actors. These engagements include advisory roles, board memberships, and sharing research with stakeholders via presentations or publications. For example, I write the climate law content for LexisNexis and my work has been widely cited and reviewed in the quality press, and parliamentary reports. I advise philanthropic foundations, regulatory agencies, committees, international organisations and industry. 

College Research Themes

  • Energy & Sustainability

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