Professor Duncan French, Head of Law School and Co-Director of Lincoln Centre for Environmental Law & Justice, has recently been involved in a number of international projects discussing contemporary issues of environmental law.
Professor French has recently been appointed to a United Nations technical advisory group to advise UN Environment (UNEP) and the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) on environmental crime. The group met recently in Turin to consider a draft UN report and will be attending an intergovernmental meeting of 84 states in September to discuss the issue further.
Professor French also provided the keynote address on environmental caselaw at a workshop of experts at McGill University, Montreal. He has also contributed to a major new book on sustainable development jurisprudence in international courts and tribunals, recently published by Routledge.
Professor Duncan French, Head of School and Co-Director of the Lincoln Centre of Environmental Law and Justice, recently gave the keynote paper at the Tarragona International Environmental Law Colloquium workshop on “Longing for Justice in a Climate-Changed World”.
Professor French gave a paper on the relevance of the temporal dimension in climate change law. He argued that despite being critical on many aspects of international environmental law, lawyers often simply accepted the “actuality” of time, without subjecting it analysis and insight. He pointed to the use of time and time periods in the 1992 Climate Change Convention, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the 2015 Paris Agreement.
He concluded that “we fail to recognise the elasticity and political nature of time. How we decide to describe climate change, how we assess it and measure its likely effects and by what duration we decide to tackle it – or adapt to its consequences – all contain temporal aspects, none of which are preordained. They are innately political questions…and we shouldn’t simply accept what legal texts say simply because they refer to matters that seem to be objective and beyond the law”.
Professor Duncan French, Head of Lincoln Law School and Professor of International Law, has recently attended the third meeting of the Rule of Law and Sustainable Development seminar organised by the Regional African Law and Human Security Programme (RALHUS).
Professor French presented a paper on contemporary case-law on sustainable development, including both international jurisprudence and domestic decisions. He reflected on the significant developments in the case-law, in the field of domestic courts holding States to account on the issue of climate change and, internationally, in developments on the legal principle of due diligence.
Nevertheless, Professor French cautioned against a wholesale endorsement of recent case-law, noting the recent decision of the International Court in the joined cases of Costa Rica v Nicaragua / Nicaragua v Costa Rica (2015) and creeping legal formalism. Thus he left the workshop with a question; are we seeing a maturity in the environmental jurisprudence or is there risk of sterility in the guise of meeting specified procedural steps?
Professor Duncan French and Dr Nathan Cooper recently visited Norway to discuss with the University of Bergen, one of the School’s new partners under the ERASMUS scheme. Taking part in their international day, they discussed future collaborations and met potential students.
Whilst in Bergen, Duncan and Nathan also gave a research seminar at the world-renown Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (CROP) on the Sustainable Development Goals, the relevance of law and the overarching need for solidarity. Their work falls part of the wider research interests of the Lincoln Centre for Environmental Law and Justice.
Professor Duncan French, Head of Lincoln Law School and Professor of International Law, has recently contributed to a new book to celebrate the 90th birthday of His Excellency, Justice Christopher Weeramantry, a former Vice-President of the International Court of Justice.
Judge Weeramantry has had a long and distinguished judicial and academic legal career. Lincoln Law School was fortunate enough to host Judge Weeramantry in 2015 to celebrate the launch of the Lincoln Centre for Environmental Law and Justice.
Professor French noted: “I have met Judge Weeramantry numerous times, and he always speaks articulately and passionately about the role of international law in solving global challenges. It was a real honour to contribute to a book marking his 90th birthday.”
The collection is – One World, One Home, One Law for All : A tribute to Judge Christopher Weeramantry, Stamford Lake Publication