First Chair in climate law for the UK to be established

First Chair in climate law for the UK to be established

  • Blue sky with green scales and grass meant to represent the legal system

As society grapples with the challenges and solutions around combatting climate change, the field of climate law will play a vital role.

The University is to establish a Professorship of Climate Law based in its Department of Land Economy. Funds for the position have been generously given by the Hatton Trust for the first endowed Chair in climate law in the UK.

The post will develop expertise in domestic as distinct from international climate law. It will be open to those with expertise in private law especially its contractual and commercial aspects as well as in public and administrative law. One of its objectives will be to build capacity in domestic climate law across the different legal sub-specialities.

“There is no bigger problem than climate change and the law will play a crucial role in putting the commitments of governments into operation at national and regional levels,” said Professor David Howarth, Head of the Department of Land Economy. “A large part of the new professor’s work will be to look at national-level law and how to deploy legal techniques and ideas more effectively to tackle climate change.”

The Department of Land Economy is already at the forefront of the University’s efforts on climate change and the new professor will join a team that includes the University’s Professor of Climate Policy and its Professors of Law and Environmental Policy and of Economics and Environmental Policy. The post will increase teaching and learning for Climate Law and will link with Cambridge Zero, an initiative that brings together the full range of the University’s research and policy expertise to develop solutions for our lives, our society and our economy. 

The new post includes a Fellowship with Hughes Hall to foster close collaboration with its Centre for Climate Engagement (CCE) and Chapter Zero, a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee wholly owned by Hughes Hall.

“The addition of the new Professor to our Fellowship will strengthen Hughes Hall’s leadership in addressing the climate emergency and further cement our collaboration with the Department of Land Economy and with Cambridge Zero. The new Professor will join the leadership of our Centre for Climate Engagement which will support them in bringing new legal research to corporate boards, in particular through our subsidiary Chapter Zero”, said Dr Anthony Freeling, President of Hughes Hall, Cambridge.

The Centre for Climate Engagement aims to encourage academic excellence in climate law, governance and organisational change, and to translate and transfer this knowledge to corporate boards to accelerate the race to net-zero emissions and climate resilience.

“Cambridge’s boldness, imagination and expertise are driving climate research that is already having an immense global impact,” said Professor Stephen J. Toope, Vice-Chancellor. “Our institution is generating many of the ideas that will lead to solutions to the climate change crisis. The Hatton Professorship joins world-leading initiatives like Cambridge Zero and the new Cambridge Centre for Carbon Credits as another example of our determination to address climate change from multiple angles, marshalling our resources in response to the urgency of this issue.”

To learn more about supporting the Department of Land Economy, please contact:

Rosalind Griffin

Head of Development — Humanities and Social Sciences