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Environmental Law Research Group

Mining landscape. Photo.

Humanity is waging war on nature. This is suicidal. Nature always strikes back – and it is already doing so with growing force and fury. Biodiversity is collapsing. One million species are at risk of extinction. Ecosystems are disappearing before our eyes … Human activities are at the root of our descent toward chaos. But that means human action can help to solve it.  

The above cry for action comes from UN Secretary António Guterres, speaking in 2023. It divides in two parts:

  1. human disregard for nature’s supremacy is suicidal,
  2. human action can reverse the trend.

In societies that embrace the rule of law, the necessary reconfiguration of relations of humans with the universe, and the restorative human action called for, require legal reform. As the time-window for effective environmental action is rapidly closing, now is the time legally to re-imagine human relations with nature in all its different manifestations.

The Environmental Law Research Group’s participates in, coordinates and at times initiates this most crucial, wide-ranging, and complex of contemporary debates. As part of this process of legal re-imagination, participating scholars frequently end up critically questioning the very foundations of their legal sub-disciplines. This includes revisiting key-notions such as jurisdiction, territoriality, legal order, citizenship, legal personhood, human dignity, nature, sustainable development, the private, the public rights, accountability, legitimacy, agency etc.

We strive for the fruits of our research to find its way not just in environmental law courses, but at all levels across the legal curriculum. 

Often, our level of enquiry is ‘constitutional’, in the sense that we explore how decision-making processes about collective futures can come to include and protect what law typically excludes and marginalizes. Particularly important is the legal representation of non-humans (both living and non-living), future generations, non-nationals and the otherwise vulnerable. 

Constitutional, too, are complex questions about hierarchies between the regulatory agency of humans on the one hand (through domestic, regional, and international laws, markets and technologies), and the agency of nature (through self-regulatory cycles and processes) on the other. The suicidal war on nature alluded to by UN Secretary General Guterres enjoys constitutional blessing, in that constitutions grant supremacy to the regulatory agency of humans over the forces of nature on which all life depends.

Reflecting the School’s research strengths, these and other questions of environmental law are frequently situated within the legal domains of human rights, public international law, law & technology, business law and EU law.

We are inviting our students to become involved in the Group’s (extra-curricular) activities, ranging from participating in seminars to discussing movies and documentaries together with staff. Societal impact we actively pursue through our participation in externally funded research projects as well as through direct interaction with a local and international public.


Britta Sjöstedt

Senior Lecturer
britta [dot] sjostedt [at] jur [dot] lu [dot] se (britta[dot]sjostedt[at]jur[dot]lu[dot]se)

Han Somsen

johannes [dot] somsen [at] jur [dot] lu [dot] se (johannes[dot]somsen[at]jur[dot]lu[dot]se)