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The IUCN Academy is pleased to announce the recipients of the Academy’s 2014 Environmental Law Scholarship Award and the Distinguished Environmental Law Education Award.   The winners were announced during the Academy’s 12th Annual Colloquium held in Tarragona, Spain on July 4, 2014 and the Awards were presented by Professor Nilufer Oral, Chair of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law.

Scholarship Award

The IUCN Academy’s annual scholarship award competition is to recognize outstanding publications and other scholarly achievements by individuals in its member institutions.

The 2014 Senior Scholar Award was presented to Professor Wang Xi of Shanghai Jiao Tong University in the Peoples’ Republic of China.

professor wang xi

The following excerpts regarding the academic work of the recipients are taken from the speech of Professor Carmen Gonzalez (University of Seattle School of Law), Co-Chair of the Research Committee, during the Awards Ceremony.

The reviewers described Professor Wang’s achievements as follows:

Professor Wang Xi is a global leader in environmental law scholarship. He has built up a formidable international and national reputation in the field.  This is obvious from his publications in both Chinese and English, as well as his contributions to the reform of environmental law in China at the central and provincial level.

[In the past five years], Professor Wang Xi has authored and edited five significant books and 25 significant articles with national and international impact.  Perhaps his most significant book was Environmental Law in China, which is the definitive treaties on Chinese environmental law, with very frank assessments of the laws’ strengths and weaknesses.  It is a very thorough and thoughtful presentation, a text used around the world. . . . Professor Wang Xi is an extraordinarily productive and effective scholar whose work has influenced policy significantly in China and internationally.”

The reviewer goes on to provide a very lengthy list of the environmental law journals on which Professor Wang Xi serves as editor and of the international collaborations which he has spearheaded.

“Professor Wang Xi is well known for his research and teaching collaboration with scholars in the United States, Canada and Australia, as well as in Europe.  Within China, he has directed a wide range of legal research projects, including on climate change, wetlands, nature reserves, renewable energy, water resources, and solid wastes, on the basis of grants.”

Finally, one of his reviewers notes his contributions to the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law:

Wang Xi has been associated with the IUCN Academy since before its official launch. In 2003, he organized the first Academy Colloquium through his Environment and Resources Law Institute at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.  That Colloquium was the stimulus for a greater concentration of scholarship in the field of environmental law in China, and in Chinese environmental law by scholars outside. It no doubt was also a factor in the expansion of the Chinese institutional membership of the Academy to what it is today.  Wang Xi has been a member of the Academy’s Governing Board for several years and has made important contributions also in that regard.”

The winner for this year’s Emerging Scholar Award given to an academic with less than 10 years academic experience is Dr. Cameron Holley of the University of New South Wales in Australia.

dr cameron holley

The reviewers for Dr. Holley described his work as follows:

Cameron Holley’s scholarly output of the past five to ten years speaks of original, high quality and innovative environmental law and governance research.  His PhD and subsequent research (a total of 18 publications and several forthcoming) blend interdisciplinary and empirical methodologies with traditional legal analysis in the fields of environmental law, regulation, and governance. . . .  As an early career academic, his publications received remarkable intellectual recognition if one considers the fact that his journal articles, books and other reports over the last five years have been cited more than 80 times in highly regarded and widely read scholarly journals.”

Another reviewer had this to say about Dr. Holley’s work:

In addition to the number of publications he has produced and grants he has been involved in (quite exceptional for a junior colleague) the strength of the work lies in the multi-faceted approach he has taken.  The empirical aspect, when of such high quality as Cameron’s, brings a much needed dimension to legal scholarship.  Too often environmental law researchers focus on desk-based studies, but Cameron has chosen to engage directly with the subjects of environmental law as well as the law-makers.  His work in the area of environmental law has broad application to many sub-fields.

In addition to his focus on international law and global governance, his country-specific research spans a number of jurisdictions, including Australia, New Zealand, Russia, the United States, and Indonesia.  It is evident from Cameron’s publications, collaborative research activities and international conference invitations that his scholarship is as relevant for academics, practitioners and governments in other parts of the world as it is for those working in Australia.”

The Academy congratulates Professor Wang and Dr. Holley for their distinguished achievements.

Distinguished Environmental Law Education Award

The IUCN Academy’s Environmental Law Education Awards recognize significant and diverse contributions to education and learning on environmental law, such as by teaching specialized courses to undergraduate and graduate students, delivering clinical programs that expose students to the “real world” of environmental law practice, and supervising students in Masters and PhD programs undertaking advanced research.

The winner for this year’s Distinguished Education Award in the Senior Category is Professor Robert Percival of Maryland University Francis King Carey School of Law.

professor robert percival

The following excerpts are taken from the speech of Dr. Sophie Riley (University of Technology Sydney), Co-Chair of the Teaching and Capacity Building Committee, given at the Awards Ceremony:

Bob has been involved in teaching environmental law for 25 years at the University of Maryland, Carey School of Law. During that time he has created one of the best Environmental Law Programs in the United States, which has consistently ranked among the top ten programs. Bob began by creating and leading Maryland’s Environmental Law Clinic, which quickly won an appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals, overturning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) exemption of hazardous smelter waste that had contaminated a rural Maryland community. The Clinic that Bob started has now trained over 200 law students, giving them the opportunity to practise law while in law school, representing clients, and addressing real-world environmental problems. Students who go through his courses are now recognized as graduating with a Concentration in Environmental Law and are some of the best environmental lawyers in the world.

In 1992, Bob, along with his co-authors, published an Environmental Law case book that has become the leading text used in Environmental Law courses in the United States: Environmental Regulation: Law, Science and Policy which is now in its 7th edition. Bob continues to develop this ground-breaking case book creating an electronic version that contains new and interactive text incorporating video and audio links. Bob makes environmental come alive. At the same time, he does not wish to profit from the sale of the text book and uses money generated from sales to run a yearly wine tasting for students to meet alumni, friends of the environmental law program, and environmental law professionals. This not only provides an opportunity for environmental law students to begin their professional network development but is also a successful yearly event that keeps many alumni returning to the law school.

Bob’s personal teaching experience is vast, encompassing numerous subject areas and courses. In addition to teaching courses such as Administrative Law and Constitutional Law, which are important backdrops to understanding US environmental law, he has taught a wide variety of specialist courses in the field of environmental law including: Toxic Torts, Risk Assessment and Regulation, Management of Global Fisheries, Transboundary Pollution & the Law, Tobacco Control and the Law, and interdisciplinary seminars on Lead Poisoning Control and Comparative Environmental Law and Politics - a truly staggering range!

In 2002, Bob began an annual tradition of allowing students the option to create short films illustrating environmental problems and solutions as one of the assignments for his class. This innovative approach has led to the creation of dozens of short films which highlight environmental problems, and in the process has unlocked the imagination and creativity of law students. Closing on a personal note, I would like to relate a short story from the 2013 Colloquium held in Waikato. Maria Marquez and I were chairing the Learning and Teaching workshops and one of our speakers had not turned up because, as we later found out, her flight had been delayed. Lucky for us, Bob was in the audience and with literally 20 seconds’ notice, he was able to give a polished presentation that was spot on with the theme of the conference. His professionalism and enthusiasm are truly outstanding and the Academy is honoured to present the senior education award to a nominee of Bob’s calibre.

The winner for this year’s Education Award for an emerging scholar with less than 10 years academic experience is Ms. Amelia Thorpe of the University of New South Wales in Australia.

ms amelia thorpe

Amelia is an exceptional candidate for the Junior Education Award. She has a wide-ranging academic and vocational background that spans law, as well as planning and architecture. This makes Amelia ideally placed to teach and educate from a multi-disciplinary perspective.

Amelia was the Programs Director/International Director at EDO NSW (Environmental Defenders Office, New South Wales) from 2008 until 2011.The key responsibilities of her role centred on capacity-building. Amelia’s duties included: the management and oversight of the capacity building program with Pacific partners; the facilitation of volunteer placements; supervising and coordinating the work of other solicitors in the program; actively participating in organisational and strategic leadership decisions; helping to manage external relations; and, performing a range of outreach duties such as workshops and training. Amelia has also had a key mentoring role as International Director at EDO NSW.

With respect to learning and teaching, Amelia’s defining quality is her passion for environmental law. Amelia has published extensively in the field of environmental law and is also an innovative teacher. She has actively sought to champion the formative work started at UNSW (the University of New South Wales) to redesign and “green” the law curriculum - originally with feedback from three people: the Chief Judge of the Land and Environment Court; a private practitioner from the leading law firm, Baker and McKenzie; and also, the executive director of the EDO NSW. In addition, Amelia has established an environmental law clinic at the Land & Environment Court in New South Wales. This is a significant achievement. It gives students an outstanding opportunity to understand the processes of the court, and the operation of environmental law in the real world. Overall, the clinic provides students with valuable experience that enhances their professional development.

Amelia has won many grants and awards including the Collections Prize, Mansfield College, University of Oxford, 2005 and the Australian Postgraduate Award, University of Sydney, 2013.”

The Academy also congratulates Professor Percival and Ms. Thorpe for their distinguished achievements.

Note of Special Thanks

The Academy would especially like to thank the Co-Chair of the Research Committee of the Academy, Professor Carmen Gonzalez and the Co-Chair of the Teaching and Capacity Building Committee of the Academy, Professor Sophie Riley, for their enormous work on these Awards.  We would also like to thank all members of the two Selection Committees, the nominators and the reviewers to review the academic work of the nominees from their very busy schedules.  These Awards would not have been made possible without the dedication and hard work of each one of them in the two competition processes.

It is with profound sadness that the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law announces the passing of Professor Vladimir Garcia Magalhães on July 30, 2014.   Professor Magalhaes suffered severe injuries from a car accident in June and succumbed to the injuries a few weeks later.

Professor Magalhães was a law professor at the Catholic University of Santos (UNISANTOS) in Brazil. He was a lawyer, biologist and environmental law professor who taught and researched in subjects such as ecology and the environment, genetic engineering, environmental law and the sea, biotechnology, biodiversity, international environmental law and property rights.

Professor Magalhães worked and served on the boards of various organizations in Brazil, including the Company of Technology of Environmental Sanitation of the State of São Paulo (CETESB), the State Program for Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biodiverisity (Probio/SP) of the Secretariat of Environment of the State of São Paulo, the Managing Council of the Sea APA of the Littoral Center of the State of São Paulo for Biennium 2013/2014, Surrounding the Transdisciplinaria Academy del (HEHITS UPON), the Institute of Green Planet and the Brazilian Institiute of Advocacia Publica (IBAP). He was one of the founding members of the Latin American Academy of Environmental Law (WINGED) and was President of the Association of the Professors of Environmental Law of Brazil (APRODAB).

Justice Antonio Benjamin of the National High Court of Brazil (STJ) stated that the passing of Vladimir was a major tragedy and a terrible loss to Brazilian Environmental Law. He also stated that we will all remember him for what he was: a great human being with a passion for Nature and Law.

A staunch supporter of the IUCN Academy, Professor Magalhães presented papers at many of the Academy’s previous colloquia and workshops. Earlier this year, Professor Magalhães was appointed to the Academy’s Research Committee. He was energetic and passionate about contributing to the work of this Committee and he had great ideas.   He will be greatly missed by many colleagues and friends in the environmental law community all over the world.

The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law has the pleasure of announcing and welcoming the Centre for Environmental Studies and Sustainable Development of Open University of Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka); the Centre for Advanced Study on Courts & Tribunals (India); Ghana Institiute of Management and Public Administration (Ghana) and the Law Faculty of the University of Bremen (Germany) as new members. You can find a list of all member institutions and details about each institution under "Our Members".

The Directory of Scholars is now available. This searchable database can be accessed under this website's left-hand drop-down menu item "Resources". The database was created under the leadership of the IUCN Academy’s Research Committee.

It is based on a survey of research interests conducted earlier this year amongst scholars within Academy member institutions and includes more than 150 scholars from around the world. The survey was conducted in early 2009.

You can also access the IUCN Academy's Global Survey of Scholarly Research Areas, which reports on the results of the survey amongst Academy member insitutions. This report details the areas of research interest, by theme and by region, as well as identifying future areas of research interest for respondents. The report also provides a guide for the use of the Directory of Scholars.

If you would like to include your own profile and key research interests and have not yet had a chance to complete our survey, you can do so by accessing our on-line survey at http://www.iucnael.org/researchsurvey. Once we receive your survey, we will post your profile and key research interests in the Directory. If you would like further information, please contact us at the Academy Secretariat at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The most recent newsletter “Legal Earth” (July 2009) is available in English, Spanish and Chinese.