Vermont Law School's commitment to international law is well demonstrated by the extensive scholarly research and fieldwork of its faculty and students. From collaborative research with environmental lawyers in China to mapping the continental shelf aboard a Coast Guard icebreaker in the Arctic, our faculty contribute to a broader understanding of international law.
Human Rights and Gender
Vermont Law School's commitment is evidenced by the work of Professor Stephanie Farrior, who joined the faculty as the international programs director in 2008. A leading figure in international human rights law and the former legal director of Amnesty International, her work spans continents.
Professor Farrior's scholarly research focuses on the role and functioning of international organizations in protecting human rights, issues relating to identity-based discrimination, and state accountability for human rights abuses by non-state actors. Her work has been published in Harvard, Columbia, and Berkeley law journals and has been cited by several UN special experts in reports to the United Nations.
Recently invited by Oxford University Press to submit an article on gender issues for the inaugural issue of a new journal it is publishing, Journal of Human Rights Practice, Professor Farrior wrote what will be the lead article, "Human Rights Advocacy on Gender Issues: Challenges and Opportunities." It reviews recent developments in international human rights law and advocacy on women's rights and on sexual orientation and gender identity, and identifies opportunities and challenges to come.
Environmental Law in China
Now in its third year, the Vermont Law School Partnership for Environmental Law in China operates under the directorship of Professor Tseming Yang to advance environmental and energy law and policy in the region. Through a partnership with Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU), Chinese scholars study at Vermont Law School, while VLS faculty work with hundreds of lawyers, judges, and law students in Beijing and Guangzhou and helped to develop an environmental law curriculum at SYSU.
Professor Yang's scholarly research focuses on environmental justice, global climate change and China's environmental laws. Recent publications include:
- "The Emergence of Global Environmental Law," coauthored with Robert V. Percival (University of Maryland), forthcoming in Ecology Law Quarterly (Fall 2009).
- "The Implementation Challenge of Mitigating China's Greenhouse Gas Emissions," 20 Georgetown International Environmental Law Review 681 (2008).
Professors Yang and Percival are also coauthoring the casebook Global Environmental Law (Aspen). The first of its kind, the book will present cases and materials that represent the principal approaches to environmental law employed by various countries around the world.
Publication of Chinese-Vermont student collaborative research
Research undertaken jointly by students in the VLS-China partnership is also being published:
- Timothy Riley and Lilly Huiyan Cai, "Unmasking Chinese Business Enterprises: Using Information Disclosure Laws to Enhance Public Participation in Corporate Environmental Decision Making," Harvard Environmental Law Review (February 2009).
- Jack Sautter and Jeanne Li, "The Clean Development Mechanism in China: Assessing the Tension between Development and Curbing Anthropogenic Climate Change," Virginia Environmental Law Journal (Fall 2009).
- Mark Qiu, "China's Environmental Super Ministry Reform: Background, Challenges, and Future," (coauthored with Honglin Li), Environmental Law Reporter (February 2009).
The Interplay of Law and Science in Arctic Sovereignty Issues
Professor Betsy Baker
was the only lawyer among 38 scientists aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Icebreaker Healy on a three-week mission in August 2008 to map the U.S. extended continental shelf in the Arctic. She returned from that mission with new respect for the role of science in the law as it relates to drafting international treaties and legal interpretation.
Baker produced a wealth of research, field work and presentations following her trip, including:
- "Mapping the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf: Legal Issues," 2008 New England Marine Law Workshop, sponsored by the Environmental, Earth & Ocean Sciences Department, UMass/Boston & Marine Law Institute, Maine School of Law, November 2008, Boston.
- Conference on Arctic Climate Change and Security Policy, cosponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace, the Dartmouth College Dickey Center for International Understanding, and the University of the Arctic, Dartmouth College Center for Arctic Studies, December 2008, Hanover, N.H. (Invited participant).
- "Science-driven Cooperation and Policy: Addressing Canadian/U.S. Diplomatic Concerns in the Arctic", Session on: The Law and Politics of Canadian Jurisdiction on the Arctic Ocean Seabed, Arctic Change 2008 Conference, December 2008, Quebec City.
- "Mapping for Advocacy - Using Marine Geophysical Data to Establish the Limits of the Extended Continental Shelves under the Convention on the Law of the Sea" (poster), with B. Coakley, American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting, December 2008, San Francisco
The Global Climate
Professor Tracy Bach has been actively publishing on issues of climate change and international law, including:
- "Recent Developments in Australian Climate Change Litigation: Forward Momentum from Down Under," 8 Sustainable Development Law and Policy 39 (Winter 2008). This article chronicles the grassroots movement spearheaded by Australian conservation foundations to use courts as a tool for climate change reform.
- "Trends in U.S. Climate Change Litigation," Japan Environmental Lawyers Federation (Summer 2008). Translated into Japanese. This article describes the U.S. climate change litigation "boomlet" of the past three years.
Bach is also coauthor, with VLS Distinguished Visiting Professor Burns Weston of a green paper produced by Vermont Law School's Climate Legacy Initiative (CLI), of which Bach is associate director, in collaboration with the University of Iowa's Center for Human Rights:
- "Recalibrating the Law of Humans with the Laws of Nature: Climate Change, Human Rights, and Intergenerational Justice" (Climate Legacy Initiative 2009).
International Law and National Security
Professor Stephen Dycus, an internationally recognized authority on national security, has published casebooks that go beyond the domestic legal issues to address the enforcement of international agreements, the law of armed conflict, and humanitarian law concerns.
Professor Dycus is most recently the lead author of National Security Law (4th ed.) with Arthur L. Berney, William C. Banks and Peter Raven-Hansen (Aspen Publishers 2006), and Counterterrorism Law , with Banks and Raven-Hansen (Aspen Publishers 2007).