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Marie Curie Funded Research Fellow Joins Lincoln Law School

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The Lincoln Law School has welcomed a new Marie Curie funded Research Fellow who will work under the supervision of Professor Duncan French, to conduct research into the current body of environmental law.

Professor Louis Kotzé joins the University of Lincoln from North-West University, South Africa where he is a Research Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law as well as teaching on the postgraduate programme in Environmental Law and Governance. His wider research focuses largely on the Anthropocene; a proposed geological epoch in which humans have made a significant impact on the Earth and its ecosystems meaning that the Earth’s systems are dislodged and in disarray. Specific examples of these impacts include an increase in greenhouse gas concentrations, urbanisation, rising global temperatures and the depletion of ocean ecosystems.

Having been awarded the prestigious European Commission Horizon 2020 Marie Curie Fellowship, Professor Kotzé will lead a research project entitled ‘Global Ecological Custodianship: Innovative International Environmental Law for the Anthropocene’ (GLEC-LAW). The research aims to critique the body of international environmental law – more specifically, the multitude of environmental treaties that are designed to address global environmental degradation – through the lens of the Anthropocene.

The research, which will take place over the next two years, will address the implications of the Anthropocene for international environmental law with a focus on why and to what extent current environmental treaties are unable to respond to the global socio-ecological crisis and how these treaties can be reformed alongside a framework of global ecological custodianship so that they can better respond to current global environmental challenges.

As part of his fellowship, Louis will also spend six months at Utrecht University in The Netherlands working with Professor Frank Biermann and his team of Earth system scientists.

Professor Louis Kotzé said of his appointment: ‘I’m grateful for the support provided by the University of Lincoln, and specifically the Law School and its Centre for Environmental Law and Justice. The University has made massive strides in situating itself as an outstanding centre of higher education and research excellence in Europe and I am immensely excited and proud to be associated with this institution.”

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New Book by Lincoln Law School’s Professor Matthew Hall


Lincoln Law School’s Professor Matthew Hall has released a book titled ‘Victims of Crime: Construction, Governance and Policy (Palgrave Studies in Victims and Victimology), which is available in hardback and as a Kindle download

This book critically engages with the development of official policy and reform in relation to the support of victims of crime both within and beyond the criminal justice system of England and Wales. Since the election of the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition Government in May 2010 it is argued that victimization has increasingly taken on a greater cultural resonance both in England and Wales and in other industrialised countries. Images of terrorism, public debates around the handling of sexual victimisation by the courts, and the issue of child sexual exploitation have catapulted victim issues into the public consciousness like never before  – generating a new form of what Hall terms ‘victim capital’. As such, this book utilises a combination of cultural victimological analysis, governance theory and legal scholarship to address fundamental questions concerning the drivers and impact of victim policy in England and Wales in the 21st century. An engaging and original study, this book will be of particular interest to scholars of victimology and the criminal justice system, as well as activists and policy makers.

Congratulations Matthew!

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Lincoln Law Lecturer Co-Authors Paper on Supporting the Success of Forced Migrants in Higher Education

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Access, participation and success in higher education are rarely considered as priorities when contemplating ways to support forced migrants that is refugees, asylum seekers and others in need of international protection. Yet, education, including higher education, is critical to supporting forced migrants establish themselves in a new country.

Education creates life-enhancing opportunities, and helps forced migrants to shape their own futures and gain a sense of belonging in their new community. However, many forced migrants living in the UK are unable to avail themselves of such opportunities due to limitations placed upon them, such as their international student status or their ineligibility for vital student finance.

Many universities in the UK are working hard to facilitate the entry of forced migrants into highereducation, by offering scholarships and other types of support. The Article 26 project was founded in 2010 and supports universities in developing and implementing scholarships, and sanctuary scholars themselves, with the aim of maximising their participation and success in higher education. We are beginning the new year with the launch of a set of guiding principles that assist universities and other higher education institutions in enabling, encouraging and supporting the participation of forced migrant students in higher education.

Introducing the Guiding Principles on Sanctuary Scholars in UK Higher Education

The Guiding Principles provide the foundations for any sanctuary initiative designed to support the success of forced migrants in higher education. They are a vital strategic planning tool for institutions, tailored to assist them in establishing, sustaining or growing their scholarships and wider initiatives that support forced migrants at their institutions.

There are 10 main principles. These are:

  1. The right of forced migrants to access higher education – as is evidenced in international, European and domestic law.
  2. Equal treatment and non-discrimination – the primary identity of Sanctuary Scholars should be that of a student, and not their immigration status.
  3. The right to privacy – protecting the privacy of Sanctuary Scholars and preventing the unlawful disclosure of their immigration status, especially without their permission.
  4. An outline of Sanctuary Initiatives – Sanctuary Initiatives can vary in design and scale, but they need to be tailored to meet the needs of forced migrant students.
  5. Underlying principles for the design and implementation of Sanctuary Initiatives – Sanctuary Initiatives should be accessible, fair, inclusive and transparent, and give due consideration to the needs and academic interests of Sanctuary Scholars.
  6. Selection processes and removal of procedural barriers – processes need to be transparent, fair and accommodating.
  7. Communication – clear, effective and timely communication is key.
  8. Academic, pastoral and professional support – it is vital that Sanctuary Scholars have access to support services that effectively consider their specific needs as forced migrants.
  9. Student progress and participation – keeping track of academic and social engagement is important for maximising student success.
  10. Staff training – championing knowledge and awareness of the specific needs of Sanctuary Scholars among key staff.

The Guiding Principles are authored by Ben Hudson – Lecturer in Law at the University of Lincoln, and Rebecca Murray – Director of the Article 26 project. Their formulation has benefitted greatly from insights provided by expert gatherings of university representatives, students, academics and practitioners. Their development has come in response to the need for overarching guidance that supports the design and administration of clear, coherent, accessible and transparent educational initiatives targeted towards championing forced migrant students in higher education.

Sanctuary Scholars: Compendium of Resources

The ‘Guiding Principles’ are the first in a series of six resources aimed at providing the most up to date information:

  • ‘Identifying Sanctuary Scholars’ – a guide to identifying the different groups (collectively described as forced migrants) that we encourage universities to include in their eligibility criteria for scholarship schemes.
  • ‘Reaching out to Sanctuary Scholars’ – an outline of key outreach strategies for the promotion of sanctuary scholarships within universities, in the locality and via national platforms.
  • ‘Who Needs to Comply?’ Sanctuary Scholars and Compliance – produced in partnership with Coram Children’s Legal Centre, this provides a framework to assist compliance teams to monitor forced migrant students studying within their institution.
  • ‘Sanctuary Scholarship Standard Application form’ – a revised and updated application form and accompanying guidance notes to support universities in the establishment or review of their existing scholarship scheme.
  • ‘Selecting Sanctuary Scholars’ – a selection framework built on and directly connected to the revised application form, which will support universities in the process of shortlisting, interviewing and assessing the specific needs of prospective forced migrant students.

In February 2017, universities and students from across the UK participated in a seminar to explore how policy and process in respect to scholarships for forced migrant students could be improved. A working group (comprised of university representatives, Article 26 student and Let us Learn’ campaign representatives) was convened to take forward the production of this series of resources. The Guiding Principles underpin this catalogue of resources and will help form the basis of discussions to establish scholarships schemes, or revise and grow existing initiatives.

Achievements we’re proud of to date

Central to project’s work is the coordination of a higher education network, which offers support and guidance of what to include in a scholarship. They typically includes a full tuition-fee waiver and funding to help meet the additional costs of studying. The model of support designed by project was pioneered over a four-year period (2010 – 2014).

The project curates a comprehensive list of bursaries available across the UK that support forced migrants to qualify for university. For example, secure English language or intersessional qualifications, and opportunities to study at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

The production of a library of resources has been one of the project’s top priorities. In 2014 the project published ‘Education for All’; a comprehensive guide to supporting forced migrant students in higher education, from recruitment to graduation.

The eighth annual Article 26 conference will be hosted by Kings College London on the 28 – 30 August 2018. The conference is a three-day event: the first day is aimed at sanctuary scholars; the second day brings together sanctuary scholars, university practitioners and additional project stakeholders; the final day is an academic symposium on forced migration and higher education.

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Lincoln Law’s Diane Ryland Selected as EU Animal Welfare Professional 2018


Congratulations to Lincoln Law School Senior Lecturer Diane Ryland who has been selected as EU Animal Welfare Professional of the Year 2018!

Based on the results of a voting process, Diane was selected in the Innovation and Excellence in Agriculture category of CorporateLiveWire’s annual awards. During the awards process over 100,000 businesses and corporate professionals, the general public and the international base of subscribers were invited to nominate associations, companies & individuals based on their achievements and strengths. Additionally Corporate Livewire’s extensive research team put forward a selection of individuals considered to have excelled within their industry.

Diane, a nominee subsequently shortlisted, was invited to submit details of her research on Animal Welfare Governance in Agriculture, accessible via the following links: and, in relation to her PhD (PT) thesis in progress – together with any notable achievements in the last 12 months. Relevant here was Diane’s participation in Working Group 16 which negotiated the ISO Technical Specification on animal welfare management related to the food supply chain, prior to its adoption by ISO Technical Committee 34 Food Products comprised of 78 Member Countries world wide. ISO Press Release: 

Diane’s long-term strategy is to facilitate raised standards of farm animal welfare in agriculture and to engender increased demand for added-value agri-produce in a global agri-food supply chain, through a proposed framework of soft law tools of governance and market instruments.

An independent judging panel decided upon the most deserving teams, practices and individuals to walk away with one of their prestigious accolades. Award winners gain a place in both digital and printed versions of the published awards winners’ guide (end of March – beginning of April 2018), which will be distributed to over 90,000 businesses and professionals, as well as being distributed in Aspire Airport Lounges around the world.

Congratulations again Diane!

See more of Diane’s research into the need for improvements to the welfare of farmed animals here

Lincoln Law School’s Diane Ryland on International Animal Rights Day


Research undertaken by Diane Ryland, Senior Lecturer in the Law School at the University of Lincoln, is concerned with transnational animal welfare governance in agriculture with the objective of realising in effect the fact that animals are sentient beings able to feel pain and pleasure and experience comfort and distress. Increasingly, farmed animals are recognised as sentient beings with specific welfare needs, if not rights, deserving of respect and improved protection, but the extent to which animal sentience is translated into legally binding standards adequately to ensure the welfare of animals reared in lawful intensive farming practices is questioned.

Diane’s research looks at the global governance of the welfare of food producing animals. It examines the regional / transnational farm animal welfare standards of the European Union and the welfare standards emanating from the international animal welfare standard-setter, the World Organisation for Animal Health in its Terrestrial Animal Health Code concerned with the production systems for certain species of farm animal. Animal Welfare in agriculture is a complex issue in which diverse factors coincide and diverge, for example: science, values, cultures and religion, demographics, economics, politics and trade etc.

Private individual and collective farm assurance schemes have arisen alongside these public standards, with global retail chains sourcing agricultural produce to market in an extended agri-food supply chain. The potential for private standards to go beyond and fill lacunae in the public standards presents an opportunity to raise standards of farm animal welfare and bolster demand for enhanced animal welfare agricultural produce in a global value chain.

The relationship between public and private animal welfare standards is integral to Diane’s research. This interest led to her participation in Working Group 16 meetings held at the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), Paris, in which International Standardization Organization (ISO) Technical Specification 34700 on animal welfare management related to the food supply chain was the subject of negotiation prior to its adoption by ISO Technical Committee 34 Food Products on 1 December 2016 [General requirements and guidance for organizations in the food supply chain, 01-12-2016 [ISO/TS 34700:2016(E)]].

Diane’s research explores the implications of standardisation and proposes a framework of soft law tools of governance facilitative of raised standards of farm animal welfare, together with suggested market instruments, for example an enhanced animal welfare label, to engender increased demand for added-value agri-produce. She is researching for a PhD (Part Time) in Hybrid Animal Welfare Governance in Agriculture in the Law School at the University of Leeds, supervised by Professor Michael Cardwell, Professor of Agricultural Law.

This research, furthermore, has prompted both a nomination and shortlisting for an innovation in agriculture award, pursuant to which the education and awareness of the welfare needs of animals during their lives and the potential prospects of alleviating animal suffering through the recommendations advanced may reach a wider audience.

Professor Duncan French on Alternate Realities: Brexit and Pokémon


As with many households across the globe – regardless of the age (or existence!) of children – my children became obsessed by the “Pokémon-Go” euphoria that captured mobile apps and social media in July and August this year. To be truthful, I didn’t want to show my naivety as to what I plainly did not understand so I played along as my children ran around searching for these curious-looking Pokémons (or is it Pokémoni?). It was a frenetic period that I did not quite grasp and decided that it was a fad that would soon die down and fade away. On reflection, I was perhaps too traditional in my view that a game so premised upon such an ephemeral proposition would not last. Despite cerebrally knowing what technology could now do, I was perhaps loathed to accept what is simply a further step in how the virtual and my physical existence now interact.

At the same time, many of us were coming to terms with the EU referendum result, seeking to compute the enormity of what had happened on the 23 June, and to reconcile ourselves to the consequences. For many, membership of the EU is as instinctive and fundamental to the UK’s global identity as its membership of NATO, or of the UN. So, just as my head and heart were in tension in understanding Pokémon-Go, I now wonder whether the same was true as regards the European referendum? My head knew that the referendum would be tight, that the campaign had been badly fought and that many in the UK still saw the EU as the institutional zenith of the “other” telling us what to do. “Take back control” was a myth but it was also a very powerful – a very emotive – catchphrase, which (whether we like it or not) resonated with a sizeable proportion of the electorate. Notwithstanding this, my heart hoped for the best… we surely wouldn’t throw it all away? Surely not.

And this tension between head and heart seems to have also clouded how many of us, as environmental lawyers, have prioritised the environment in discussions on Brexit. To do so ignores, however, an invariable fact; namely that the environment has barely mattered. Or, more accurately, that for most who voted Leave (and indeed for many who voted Remain) the environment is a long way down the Brexit agenda. It had scant impact on the campaign, and its relevance in the aftermath remains equally unclear. For sure, some tried to raise the issue of what the EU had done for the environment, but there was an almost inverse relationship between the sincerity and earnestness of the arguments presented, and the likely effect this had on the wider population. There was also the prospective debate as to whether the EU would be able to continue to play a leading role in such critical matters as climate change – and to meet its commitments – without the continuing membership of the UK. Again, valid questions but hardly persuasive in the popular consciousness.

So, just as my head and heart were in tension in understanding Pokémon-Go, I now wonder whether the same was true as regards the European referendum?

Within any discourse on Brexit, there is, of course, a particular paradox; the ecological and economic interdependence facing any State, be it part of a regional grouping or otherwise. Indeed, since the referendum result, the first official steps towards recognising the Anthropocene as the next geological epoch have been taken. And within the UK, the nature and extent of such global interdependence has also become apparent, perhaps most acutely in terms of the UK’s future energy policy. The decision in September to continue with the Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor in conjunction with EDF, a French contractor, and the Chinese government reflects not only the inability of most States to fund themselves such huge energy projects, but also that such endeavours now reflect a synergy – however much in tension – between disparate priorities of energy security, domestic supply, the provision of sustainable energy, and other commercial realities, both for the consumer and the investor. And while the ongoing case brought by Austria and others before the CJEU against the UK for unlawful state aid is very much predicated on EU law, one should not ignore the parallel intergovernmental discussions before the Implementation Committee of the Espoo Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context on the inadequacy of British consultation over environmental concerns. As a convention under the auspices of the UN Economic Commission for Europe, membership will persist post-Brexit, as will many other international treaties. The UK has yet to ratify the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and has regrettably not been in the vanguard of early ratifications. Nevertheless, there is every expectation that the UK will ratify by the end of this calendar year. As a matter of international law, the UK remains within a network of legal rules and processes – in the environmental field as in many others – that reveals the false premise in any absolutism in “tak[ing] back control”.

So as the UK moves towards trying to discern which model of Brexit is to be preferred, I would argue against fatalism; that as academics and as participants in the political process, we do not simply hark back to what is going to recede gradually from us, namely our membership of the EU and our contribution to EU environmental policy. But that we re-engage (perhaps for the first time) with other regional and international processes and institutions that reflect such ecological interdependence. I may not have understood the allure of capturing Pokémon – I now think the singular is also the plural – but I hope I am not so trenchant as to run around in the hope of spotting something even rarer; UK membership of the EU as it existed prior to 23 June 2016. That truly is becoming an alternate reality.

By Professor Duncan French, Head of Lincoln Law School, Professor of International Law and Co-Director of the Lincoln Centre for Environmental Law and Justice.

Featured image credit: Pokémon planet. CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay.

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Lincoln Law Professor, Matthew Hall on the Sentencing of Oxford University Student, Lavinia Woodward

Trump and the Paris Agreement: Withdrawal from the World but not from the Planet


Professor of International Law and Co-Director of Lincoln Centre for Environmental Law & Justice, Duncan French on the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement

“The decision by President Trump to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change has rightly been criticised by other world leaders and civil society groups. Within the United States, it marks a further step by the new US Administration in relegating environmental considerations from the government’s priorities. Globally, this is the most pronounced movement by the Trump Presidency in giving effect to the populism of his election campaign. Its timing around World Environment Day on 5 June seems particularly regrettable and ironic. The United States now joins Nicaragua and Syria as the only countries outside of the Agreement.

The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 as a multilateral environmental agreement to move the international community forward together to both tackle climate change and to begin to prepare and to finance the resilience and adaptation necessary in response to its more extreme consequences. It is far from a perfect agreement, and most view it as only the next step in what has to be a much more ambitious programme of reform and change. But it is an important step.

The issue of climate change has been on the international agenda for thirty years. In that time, the international community has adopted two important treaties – the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol – and the world has become increasingly aware, both through the hardening of the scientific evidence but also with our own eyes, of the reality of climate change. The international community, never completely in consensus on this issue, has nevertheless slowly and sometimes painstakingly edged forward in its commitments. Most notably, India and especially China have now adopted ambitious climate plans.

The United States has always had an awkward history with international climate change law, notwithstanding its historical role as the largest polluter of greenhouse gases. It was not a party to the Kyoto Protocol, concerned then that it only imposed obligations on developed countries and not the more industrialised developing countries. It was this, amongst so many reasons, which made the Paris Agreement so significant; all countries, regardless of level of development, were willing to commit to bring down their greenhouse gas emissions. The obstacle to US participation in the Kyoto process – that of perceived developing country competitive advantage – was thus removed.

Moreover, unlike the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement works on the basis of “pledge and review” rather than through the establishment of legally binding emission reduction obligations. Each country is to submit a nationally determined contribution (NDC), which it will try to attain (or ‘intends to achieve’ in the words of the Agreement) towards keeping global temperature down ‘to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels’. These NDCs are to be reviewed periodically to ensure they are set at the necessary ambition to achieve the Paris Agreement’s climate objectives.

Thus, the US secured its twin objectives in the Paris negotiations; ensuring that China and India made an effective contribution and that climate commitments were “bottom-up” goals set by the countries themselves and not “top-down” prescriptive rules.

Of particular concern was the announcement by President Trump that the US would cease all Paris Agreement implementation actions with immediate effect, including supporting the Green Climate Fund, which provides finance to developing countries to meet their own obligations under the Paris Agreement. Lawyers will argue whether the US has acted unlawfully by violating the Agreement in advance of withdrawal, but the ecological and developmental impact of this non-implementation decision will be quickly felt, and not just (or primarily) in the United States.

So are there any grounds for optimism despite the Trump decision to withdraw? First, formally, withdrawal cannot take effect until 4 November 2020 at the earliest, as the Paris Agreement includes its own rules of departure (12 months following notification, but then only after three years of a country being a member). It is ironic that 4 November 2020 is the day after the next US election. Secondly, while what the US Government chooses to commit to (or not) is important it isn’t the totality of what can be achieved. China, the EU and others are seeing the political and moral, as well as the economic, opportunities in tackling climate change.

And beyond the State level, much can be done. Consumer choice, local government action and the private sector all have a hugely instrumental role to play in responding to climate change. And in the US, states such as California are taking a leadership role in tackling the issue. Moreover, while the global market is not invariably environmentally-friendly, as the costs of climate change become ever more apparent, so the market itself will steer towards green solutions so as to achieve co-called “climate neutrality”. Finally, the courts themselves are beginning to take climate change seriously. Decisions as far afield as The Netherlands, South Africa, Austria and the United States are considering, and increasingly accepting, climate arguments. Nevertheless, President Trump’s decision is a retrograde one.

Thus, is the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement to be regretted? Absolutely. But less because of how far a treaty can coerce States to do things they don’t want to do, and more because participation is symbolic of broader political engagement. And it is the politics that will determine our planet’s – and our own – future. If we fail to keep within the temperature limits indicated by the Paris Agreement, “Make America Great Again” will resound hollow when we transgress one of the key planetary boundaries. The United States can withdraw from the world, but not from the planet.”

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Telders International Law Moot Court Competition



Congratulations to Lincoln Law School’s Dr Christy Shucksmith who was invited to judge the UK national rounds of the 2017 Telders International Law Moot Court Competition at the University of Liverpool on the 11th March. I was an honour to be involved in such a fantastic competition, particularly as a previous participant in the 2008 national and international rounds.

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