Elizabeth is Professor of International Environmental Law.
She supervises PhD students working on projects in the international law of the sea and teaches Environmental Law I on the Oil, Gas and Mining Law LLM.
Elizabeth is Deputy Chair of the Governing Board of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law and sits on the Managing Board of the European Environmental Law Forum.
Elizabeth qualified as a solicitor in Scotland in the early 1990s. She then spend some time in Canada, studying then working as a researcher at the University of British Columbia. On returning to the UK, Elizabeth was a lecturer (1995-2003), Senior Lecturer (2003-2014) and Reader (2014-2016) at the University of Dundee. She joined Nottingham Law School in the summer of 2016.
Our world is changing rapidly as a result of climate change and technological development. We also see rapid change in the world’s economic and political order. Each of these changes poses threats to our security and wellbeing. Law’s role is to provide a steadying force, a system for prioritising and a system for resolving disputes. Law’s ability to fulfil these functions rests on its ability to generate new norms and maintain existing ones, but in a rapidly changing world its ability to do so is tested.
Elizabeth’s research highlights weaknesses in current understanding of the production of normativity (that is the processes by which individuals come to regard rules as binding) in both national and international law and provides methods for better understanding these processes. For example, Elizabeth’s research shows that the form of law is less important than the content and that other factors, such as trust and educational activities may be more important, in the production of normativity (Kirk 2008; Bebbington, Kirk and Larrinaga, 2012).
It also changes conceptions of the role of science in both international and national environmental law, demonstrating that the role of science is often less significant than one would anticipate (Kirk ‘Science’, 2015; Kirk, 2011). Instead Elizabeth’s research has led to the insight that the key to normativity (and hence compliance) lies in the role played by a variety of actors in shaping the development of legal norms, through formal participation in decision-making, direct and indirect lobbying, the linking of disparate legal regimes and the creation of new cultural norms, which influence the development of legal norms (Kirk, 2011; see also Bebbington, Kirk and Larrinaga, 2012) and the implementation process (Kirk, 2008; Kirk et al, 2007; Reeves et al 2007; Kirk et al 2004; Sherlock et al 2004).
These themes are currently being explored in Elizabeth’s research on Arctic Governance; Marine Governance; and Energy Efficiency.
Elizabeth’s research has been supported by a number of research grants from the AHRC, British Academy, ESRC, European Commission, Royal Society of Edinburgh and Society of Legal Scholars.
Elizabeth has been invited to provide expert advice to government agencies and international organisations such as UNEP and the Arctic Council. Key reports include: E.A. Kirk and S. Vinogradov “Strengthening The GPA at The Regional Level Through Land-based Sources and Activities Protocols” UNEP/GPA, The Hague, 2006; K. Blackstock, E.A. Kirk, Y.C. Chang and G. Davidson “Public Participation and Consultation in SEPA Regulatory Regimes” Report to SEPA, 2006; K. Sherlock, E.A. Kirk and A.D. Reeves “Disciplinary Interactions: Science and the Law Report to SEPA”, 2003. Elizabeth also contributed to the 4th GEO report – “Water” Chapter - Global Environmental Outlook GEO-4 Report, UNEP
Elizabeth also values service to the academic community more widely and had held a number of roles in professional bodies. She is currently Deputy Chair of the Governing Board of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law. The Academy plays a key role in fostering academic discourse in environmental law at the global level by bringing together the world’s top universities and institutions for environmental law teaching and research to build capacity in environmental law education and promote the conceptual development of the subject. In particular it fosters the research of junior academics and academics in developing countries as well as providing a mechanism to aid research collaborations across the globe.
Elizabeth also sits on the Managing Board of the European Environmental Law Forum and is a member of the International Law Association and of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law, Oceans, Coasts and Coral Reefs specialist group. She is an Associate Editor for Brill Research Perspectives in the Law of the Sea.
Elizabeth is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
C. Barker, E.A. Kirk and M. Sah (eds.) 1998 “Gender Perspectives” Dartmouth Publishers
Chapters in Books
E.A. Kirk “The Role of Civil Society in the Protection of Biodiversity” Chapter 4 in M. Bowman, P.Davies and E. Goodwin (eds.) Research Handbook on Biodiversity and Law Edward Elgar 2016
E.A. Kirk “Science and the International Regulation of Marine Pollution” Chapter 23 in D. Rothwell, K. Scott; T. Stephens; A. Oude Elferink (ed.s) Handbook on the Law of the Sea Oxford University Press 2015
E.A. Kirk and A.D. Reeves 2003 “Disciplinary Interactions: Ontological Commitments and Environmental Standard Setting” in J. Holder and C. Harrison eds. “Law and Geography” 2002 5 “Current Legal Issues” Oxford University Press, pp.557-573
E.A. Kirk and J. Tooze 1998 “Women and Water Law” in C. McGlynn (ed.) “Legal Feminisms: Theory and Practice”, Dartmouth Publishers, pp.135-149
E.A. Kirk 1997 “Marine Issues” Chapter 11 in C.T. Reid (ed.) “Greens Guide to Environmental Law in Scotland” 2nd ed., W. Green, pp.207-
E.A. Kirk “The Ecosystem Approach and the Search for An Objective and Content for the Concept of Holistic Ocean Governance” (2015) 46 ODIL pp. 33-49
J. Bebbington, E.A. Kirk and C. Larrinaga 2012 “The Production of Normativity: A Comparison of Reporting Regimes in Spain and the UK” 37 Accounting, Organizations and Society pp. 78–94
E.A. Kirk 2011 “Marine Governance, Adaptation and Legitimacy” 22 Yearbook of International Environmental Law pp. 110-139 ISSN 0965-1721
E.A. Kirk and K.L. Blackstock 2011 “Enhanced Decision Making: Balancing Public Participation Against “Better Regulation” in British Environmental Permitting Regimes” 23 Journal of Environmental Law pp.97-116 reproduced in John McEldowney & Sharon McEldowney (eds) Environmental Regulation, Edward Elgar, 2014
E.A. Kirk and A.D. Reeves 2011 “Regulatory Agencies and Regulatory Change: Breaking Out of the Routine” 13 Environmental Law Review pp.155-168
E.A. Kirk 2008 “Non-Compliance and the Development of Regimes Addressing Marine Pollution from Land-based Activities” 39 Ocean Development and International Law pp.235-256
E.A. Kirk 2008 “Case Concerning Territorial and Maritime Dispute Between Nicaragua and Honduras in the Caribbean Sea (Nicaragua v. Honduras) Judgment 8 October 2007” 57 International and Comparative Law Quarterly July pp.701-709
E.A. Kirk, A.D. Reeves and K.L. Blackstock 2007 “Path Dependency and the Implementation of Environmental Regulation” 25 Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 250-268
A.D. Reeves, E.A. Kirk and K.L. Blackstock 2007 “The Limitations of Regulatory Science in the Effective Control of Diffuse Pollution” 3 Law, Science and Policy 123-156
K.L. Blackstock, E.A. Kirk and A.D. Reeves 2005 “Sociology, Science and Sustainability: Developing Relationships in Scotland” 10 (2) Sociological Research Online
E.A. Kirk, K. Sherlock and A.D. Reeves 2004 “SUDS Law: Non-State Actors and the Haphazard Route to Implementation of International Obligations” 4 Non-State Actors and International Law pp.87-109
K. Sherlock, E.A. Kirk and A.D. Reeves 2004 “Just the Usual Suspects? Policy Networks and Environmental Regulation” 22 Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy pp.651-666
E.A. Kirk 2004 “Marine Pollution from Land-Based Activities, Current Developments”, 15 Yearbook of International Environmental Law pp. 267-272
E.A. Kirk 2003 “Marine Pollution from Land-Based Activities, Current Developments”, 14 Yearbook of International Environmental Law pp.287-296
K.J. Bebbington, C. Larrinaga and E.A. Kirk “A Regime Theory Perspective on Regulating Environmental Reporting” Accountability Quarterly 21 September 2003 pp.15-19
E.A. Kirk 2002 “Marine Pollution from Land-Based Activities, Current Developments”, 13 Yearbook of International Environmental Law pp.280-290
K.J. Bebbington, R.H. Gray, C. Hibbit and E.A. Kirk “Full Cost Accounting - Principles and Practices” Accounting and Business, 2002 pp.46-47
E.A. Kirk 2001 “Marine Pollution from Land-Based Activities, Current Developments” 12 Yearbook of International Environmental Law pp.25–232
E.A. Kirk 2000 “Marine Pollution from Land-Based Activities, Current Developments” 11 Yearbook of International Environmental Law pp.191-197
E.A. Kirk “The Aggregates Levy” 80 Scottish Planning and Environmental Law 2000 pp.85-86
E.A. Kirk “Landfill Tax” 80 Scottish Planning and Environmental Law 2000 pp.86-87
E.A. Kirk 1999 “Marine Pollution from Land-Based Activities, Current Developments” 10 Yearbook of International Environmental Law pp.244-251,
E.A. Kirk 1999 “The Mismatch of Jurisdictional Zone and Ecosystems” 8 Review of International and European Community Environmental Law pp.67-72
E.A. Kirk 1999 “Ospar Decision 98/3 and the Dumping of Offshore Installations” 48 International and Comparative Law Quarterly pp.458-464
E.A. Kirk 1998 “Marine Pollution from Land-based Sources, Current Developments” 9 Yearbook of International Environmental Law pp.197-203
E.A. Kirk 1997 “Dumping of Offshore Installations and the Brent Spar Incident” 46 International and Comparative Law Quarterly pp.957-964
E.A. Kirk 1997 “Marine Pollution from Land-based Sources, Current Developments” 8 Yearbook of International Environmental Law pp.195-199
1. E.A. Kirk 1996 “International Law and Developing States: Lessons From Viet Nam” 8 Georgetown International Environmental Law Review pp.263-291 reproduced in A.J. Bolla and T. McDorman (eds.) “Comparative Asian Environmental Law Anthology” Carolina Academic Press, 1999
E.A. Kirk “Respect for Home and European Convention on Human Rights - Case Note” 58 Scottish Planning and Environmental Law 1996 pp.120-121See all of Elizabeth Kirk's publications...
Elizabeth's expertise is focused on international environmental law, more specifically the international law relating to Marine Resources; Marine Biodiversity; Arctic governance; Marine pollution and Ecosystems.