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Research Portal

Faculty of Law | University of the Western Cape

Research Portal

Faculty of Law | University of the Western Cape

GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW (GEL)

About our research niche

global environmental law

Our focus
Our team
Our partners

Our focus

Global assessments present a disconcerting view of the condition of the environment, a condition that is likely to have a severe impact on the survival of humankind. Humankind is rapidly transgressing existing planetary boundaries. This apocalyptic nightmare is, however, not equally applicable to everyone, as the poorest and most vulnerable will be harder hit by environmental degradation than others. Environmental degradation will exacerbate inequity and inequality. Hence, the environmental crisis is closely associated with issues of equity and justice.

This crisis raises questions about the adequacy of law as a mechanism to counter global environmental degradation. It seems that environmental law is fraught with structural shortcomings that necessitate an innovative, and perhaps radical, revision of its tenets in order to address a looming environmental crisis. The specific nature of global environmental challenges and the dire consequences of phenomena such as climate change necessitate the rapid and flexible development of law.

Against this backdrop, the Global Environmental Law (GEL) research niche aims to foster legal research and innovation to enhance the ways that global environmental law responds to the environmental crisis. The niche area pursues its objectives through, inter alia:

  • organising annual international seminars on critical topics;
  • hosting leading international scholars;
  • postgraduate supervision;
  • academic publications; and
  • International collaboration.

Our team


New Scholtz

COORDINATOR

Global Environmental Law niche

Head of Department: Public Law and Jurisprudence

University of the Western Cape

 
Prof Werner Scholtz  

 

Specialisation

International environmental law, in particular, international wildlife welfare law

Bio in brief

Werner Scholtz is a Senior Professor of Law and Head of Department in the Department of Public Law and Jurisprudence at UWC.

Prof Scholtz obtained his doctorate in law from Leiden University in 2001, and specialises in international environmental law. His current research focuses on the consequences of the increasing importance of animal welfare for international wildlife law, and has resulted in publications in Transnational Environmental Law, the Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy as well as a book publication.

An internationally acclaimed National Research Foundation-rated researcher, Prof Scholtz frequently acts as a speaker at conferences and seminars. He is a member of, inter alia, the International Law Association (ILA) Committee on the Legal Principles of Climate Change, the ILA Committee on Recognition/Non-recognition, and the European Society of International Law (ESIL) Interest Group on International Environmental Law. He also serves on the editorial board of the SADC Law Journal, and as an Alexander von Humboldt fellow.

Contact

wscholtz@uwc.ac.za


New Kasker

RESEARCHER

Global Environmental Law niche

Lecturer in the Department of Public Law and Jurisprudence

University of the Western Cape

 
Dr Muhammad Sameer Kasker  

 

Specialisation

International environmental law, specifically global environmental governance; academic development

Bio in brief

Muhammad Kasker is a researcher in the Global Environmental Law niche and a lecturer in the Department of Public Law and Jurisprudence.

He took his LLB, LLM and LLD degrees at the University of the Western Cape. In 2019, he completed his LLD degree and in the same year was appointed as a lecturer in the Department of Public Law and Jurisprudence. Dr Kasker’s research interests include environmental law as well as academic development.

He completed his LLM dissertation in international environmental law, specifically global environmental governance. His LLD thesis in international environmental law focused on international water law and sustainable development and management of water. Dr Kasker’s academic career began in 2013 when he tutored English for Educational Development in Law. As the years went on, he began to lecture in Environmental and Sustainability Studies (2017-2018) and Legal Systems (2019) for first-year students. He is currently co-lecturing to final-year students on the South African bill of rights as well as environmental law, in addition to which he lectures in the postgraduate courses, Environmental Law and International Environmental Law.

Publications

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Articles in this website

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Contact

mkasker@uwc.ac.za


Profile Duncan French

EXTRAORDINARY PROFESSOR

Global Environmental Law niche

Head of Law School

University of Lincoln

 
Prof Duncan French  

 

Specialisation

International environmental law and the international legal implications of sustainable development; subject specialisms: public international law, international environmental law, international legal implications of sustainable development, international economic law, international dispute settlement

Bio in brief

Professor Duncan French is Head of the Lincoln Law School and Professor of International Law. He is a leading academic on international environmental law and the international legal implications of sustainable development. He has written extensively in these areas, as well as writing generally on both broader questions of public international law (eg. treaty interpretation), international economic and investment law, and international dispute settlement. He has secondary research interests in international law of the sea and Antarctica.

As a key figure in the global debate on sustainable development, he has been co-rapporteur of the International Law Association Committee on the International Law on Sustainable Development for ten years (2002-2012). He was also Chairman of the ILA Study Group on International Law and Due Diligence (2012-2016).

In his capacity as a senior research fellow of the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law, Professor French spoke to diplomats at the UN Headquarters (New York) in April 2012 on the role of international tribunals in resolving complex environmental and socio-economic disputes. In 2017, he was on a UN technical experts committee considering environmental crime. Recent publications include: D. French and L. Kotzé (eds.), Sustainable Development Goals: Law, Theory and Implementation (Edward Elgar, 2018) and V. Ruiz Abou-Nigm, K. McCall-Smith and D. French (eds.), Linkages and Boundaries in Private and Public International Law (Hart, 2018).

Professor French was Professor of International Law at the University of Sheffield from 2009 until 2012, prior to taking up his new post as the Head of Lincoln Law School in February 2012. He became the Pro Vice Chancellor in January 2019. He is also Co-Director of the Lincoln Centre for Environmental Law and Justice.

Publications

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Articles in this website

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Contact

dfrench@lincoln.ac.uk


Profile Alexander Gillespie

EXTRAORDINARY PROFESSOR

Global Environmental Law niche

Professor of Law

University of Waikato

 
Prof Alexander Gillespie  

 

Specialisation

Professor Gillespie's areas of scholarship pertain to international and comparative environmental law, the laws of war and a number of pressing issues of social concern such as drug policy and refugees.

Bio in brief

Professor Alexander Gillespie obtained his LLB and LLM degrees with Honours from The University of Auckland. He did his PhD at Nottingham and post-doctoral studies at Colombia University in New York City. His areas of scholarship pertain to international and comparative environmental law; the laws of war; civil liberties; and a number of pressing issues of social concern.

Prof Gillespie has published 16 books. The latest works have been Waste Policy: International Regulation, Comparative and Contextual Perspectives. (Edward Elgar, London, 2015); International Environmental Law, Policy and Ethics. (OUP, Second edition, 2015); and the Causes of War: Volume II (1000-1400) and Volume III (1400-1650), both published by Bloomsbury, NYC, 2017. The Long Road to Sustainability, published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, late 2017, is his most recent work. He has also written over forty academic articles.

Prof Gillespie has been awarded a Rotary International Scholarship, a Fulbright Fellowship, a residency at the Rockerfeller Bellagio Centre in Italy, and the New Zealand Law Foundation International Research Fellowship. His most recent award was from the Franqcui Foundation in Belgium, with which he held a professorship at Ghent University for six months during 2018/2019. He has also been the lawyer/expert on a number of international delegations and advised the New Zealand government on multiple matters of international concern. Professor Gillespie was the first New Zealander to be named Rapporteur for the World Heritage Convention, involving international environmental diplomacy under the auspice of UNESCO. Alexander has also been engaged in policy formation for the United Nations, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and governmental, commercial and non-governmental organisations in New Zealand, Australia, United States, United Kingdom, Ireland and Switzerland. He has also made a number of appearances before the Waitangi Tribunal and Select Committees of the New Zealand Parliament.

Publications

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Articles in this website

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Contact

azg@waikato.ac.nz


Profile Lynette Thomas

ADMINISTRATOR

Global Environmental Law niche

Departmental administrator

University of the Western Cape

 
Lynette Thomas  

 

Specialisation

Bio in brief

Lynette Thomas is the administrator of the Department of Public Law and Jurisprudence.

Publications

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Articles in this website

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Contact

lthomas@uwc.ac.za


Our partners

 

 Partner University Antwerp 
  Law and Development research group, University of Antwerp 

 

About

The Law and Development research group studies whether and how law can enhance human dignity and global justice, in particular for those adversely affected by economic and other forms of globalization. This question is addressed through the prism of both structural inequality between states in North and South (‘developed’ versus ‘developing’ states), and within states.