How should international courts and tribunals balance national and international environmental and economic regulation?

Associate Professor Caroline Foster (right), Director of Doctoral Studies, and Ute Decker, Doctoral Candidate, Faculty of Law.

The abundance of international regulation raises some important and complex questions. What happens if international rules clash with national sovereignty? If there is a dispute who will sort this out, and how? What principles should govern the interface between sovereignty and international law when it comes to protecting globally shared interests? How supported and accountable are international tribunals in making these decisions? These are some of the issues tackled in a book Caroline is writing with support from a Royal Society Marsden Grant. This work investigates states’ powers to protect national health, biosecurity and community values, and their international obligations to protect the environment. Associated research by PhD candidate Ute Decker looks into the relationship between industry and governments in advancing international environmental common concerns. We hope to encourage reflection on the ways government advisers, lawyers, judges, arbitrators, NGOs, scholars, industry and world citizens make their contribution to the SDGs.