Professor Robert Lee

Professor Robert Lee

Birmingham Law School
Professor of Law
Director of Education for the Centre for Environmental Research and Justice (CERJ)

Contact details

Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Robert Lee is Professor of Law of Birmingham Law School. He is a former Head of School and Director of the Centre for Employability, Professional Legal Education and Research (CEPLER). He has acted as specialist adviser to the European Parliament, the European Commission, the House of Commons and the National Assembly for Wales and has worked for the Department for the Environment in Northern Ireland (drafting environmental legislation), the Irish Environment Protection Agency, the UN Environment Programme and the UN Development Programme. In the UK, he has undertaken research projects on the regulation of technologies for both the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.  He is an honorary life member of the UK Environmental Association and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences..

Bob has published extensively and is Environment Editor of the Journal of Business Law and an editorial board member of a number of journals including the prestigious Journal of Law and Society. He is still actively engaged with research projects relating to technology regulation including the Horizon 2020 PrecisionTox programme  and the UKRI Interdisciplinary Research Centre on a Circular Economy in Technology Metals.

Robert Lee is part of the Birmingham Plastics Network, an interdisciplinary team of more than 40 academics working together to shape the fate and sustainable future of plastics.  This unique team brings together chemists, environmental scientists, philosophers, linguists, economists, artists, writers, lawyers and experts in many other fields, to holistically address the global plastics problem.


  • LLB (Brunel)
  • LLD (Cardiff)


Prior to his appointment Professor Robert Lee was Professor of Environmental Law at the Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter. Between 2001 and 2012 he was Co-Director of the ESRC Research Centre on Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS) at Cardiff University. He is the Environmental Editor for the Journal of Business Law and an Analysis Editor for the Journal of Environmental Law and he sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Law and Society. He is an honorary life member of the UK Environmental Law Association. His wider interest is in regulatory issues particularly in areas of health and environment. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and holds a higher doctorate (LL.D.) for socio-legal studies. 

Bob has spent time in commercial practice with two of the largest UK law firms and remains a professional development consultant with the Environment, Planning and Regulation Group of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. He has been a member of the Law Society's Training Committee, the QAA Benchmarking Panel for Law, the Lord Chancellor's Standing Conference on Legal Education and the Society of Legal Scholars' Legal Education Sub-committee. 


Bob researches broadly in the field of environmental law. He has a book on food regulation in Europe (Routledge, 2010) has edited a two volume reader on Environmental Law and Economics (Ashgate 2008). He produces the environment volume of the Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents (LexisNexis, 2013), and has edited a collection of essays on Economic Globalisation and Ecological Localisation (Blackwell, 2009). His current projects include work on the socio-economic aspects of harvesting and developing pharmaceutical products from marine sponges (funded by Marie Curie) and a review of sustainability duties in the UK, on behalf of WWF (UK).

Other activities

  • Special Adviser of ESG, Landmark Group
  • Honorary Professor Nottingham Law School


Recent publications


Lee, R 2014, Environmental Regulation and British Political Economy II. vol. II, Fiat Justicia.


Dawson, L, Ahuja, J & Lee, R 2021, 'Steering extended producer responsibility for electric vehicle batteries', Environmental Law Review.

Lee, R & Stech, R 2018, 'Compensation for harm caused by nuclear installations: what's the damage?', Journal of Property, Planning and Environmental Law, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 17-35.

Lee, R 2017, 'Always Keep a Hold of Nurse: British Environmental Law and Exit from the European Union', Journal of Environmental Law, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 155-164.

Lee, R 2015, 'Humming a Different Tune? Commercial cultivation of GM Crops in Europe', Bio-Science Law Review, vol. 14, no. 5, pp. 185.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Steinert, G, Stauffer, CH, Aas-valleriani, N, Borchert, E, Bhushan, A, Campbell, A, De Mares, MC, Costa, M, Gutleben, J, Knobloch, S, Lee, RG, Munroe, S, Naik, D, Peters, EE, Stokes, E, Wang, W, Einarsdóttir, E & Sipkema, D 2018, BluePharmTrain: biology and Biotechnology of Marine Sponges. in P Rampelotto & A Trincone (eds), Grand Challenges in Marine Biotechnology. Grand Challenges in Marine Biotechnology, Springer, pp. 505-553.

Lee, R 2018, Contract Formation under the Caveat Emptor Rule: Assessing its Util. in Essays in Memory of Jill Poole: Coherence, Modernisation and Integration in Contract, Commercial and Corporate Laws. Taylor & Francis.

Lee, R 2017, Novel Foods and Risk Assessment in Europe: Separating Science from Society. in R Brownsword, ES & K Yeung (eds), The Oxford Handbook of the Law and Regulation of Technology. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Lee, R & Stokes, E 2016, Material uncertainty: nanomaterials, regulation and symbolic legislation. in B van Klink, B van Beers & L Poort (eds), Symbolic Legislation and Developments in Biolaw. Legisprudence Library, vol. 4, Springer, pp. 237-252.


Lee, R & Lynch, I 2016, In Support of the Inclusion of Data on Nanomaterials Transformations and Environmental Interactions into Existing Regulatory Frameworks. in F Murphy, E McAlea & M Mullins (eds), Managing Risk in Nanotechnology: Topics in Governance, Assurance and Transfer. Innovation, Technology, and Knowledge Management, Springer, pp. 145-169.

Lee, R 2014, European food governance: the contrary influences of market liberalization and agricultural exceptionalism. in T Marsden & A Morley (eds), Sustainable Food Systems: Building a New Paradigm. Earthscan, London/New York, pp. 62 - 83.

Commissioned report

Acton, J, Anderson, P, Andres, L, Angus, M, Amor, P, Arrowsmith, J (ed.), Asmelash, H, Bartington, S (ed.), Bengtsson, F, Bhullar, L, Bloss, W, Bonet, B, Börner, S, O Bonsu, N, Bryson, JR, Burns, V, Burrows, A, Calvert, C, Cassidy, N, Cavoski, A, Chadyiwa, M, Chapman, H, Chapman, L, Cockram, M, Degendardt, L, Dickinson, D, Ding, Y, Dobrzynski, D, Dolo, M, Dora, J, Ercolani, M, Ersoy, A, Farag, H, Ferranti, E, Fisher, R, Freer, M, Goldmann, N, Goode, CE, Greenham, S, Gulati, S, Hadfield-Hill, S, Harper, G, Hegerl, G, Hillmansen, S, Holmes, J, Huang, JJ, Huser, C, Jackson, R, Jaroszweski, D, Jefferson, I, Johnson, J, Kaewunruen, S, Kelly-Akinnuoye, F, Kettles, G, Kraftl, P, Krause, S, Leckebusch, GC, Lee, R, Lockwood, B (ed.), Lohse, J, Luna Diez, E, Lynch, I (ed.), MacKenzie, R, Maddison, D, Makepeace, J, Mann, V, Marino, R, Mavronicola, N, McDonald, M, McGowan, K (ed.), Metje, N, Ng, K, Nicol, J, O'Sullivan, C, Phalkey, N, Prestwood, E, Pyatt, N, Quinn, A, Radcliffe, J (ed.), Ravi, M, Reardon, L, Reeder, T, O’Regan, P, Remedios, L, Roberts, J, Rogers, C, Rungskunroch, P, van Schaik, W, Swan, J (ed.), Thomson, I, Toft, H (ed.), Tong, J, Botello Villagrana, F, Walton, A, Wason, C (ed.), Weir, C, Wood, R & Zhong, J 2021, Addressing the climate challenge. University of Birmingham.

Walton, A, Anderson, P, Harper, G, Mann, V, Beddington, J, Abbott, A, Bloodworth, A, OudeNijeweme, D, Schofield, E, Wall, F, Glover, N, Chaddock, R, Gross, R, Lee, R, Grimes, R, Lewis, R, Gibson, V, McGuiness, P (ed.) & Ogrin, R (ed.) 2021, Securing technology-critical metals for Britain. University of Birmingham.

Other contribution

Lee, R & Cavoski, A 2021, Climate change governance and environmental justice. University of Birmingham. <>


Lee, R 2014, 'State aid and energy: new rules aid 20-20-20 targets'.

View all publications in research portal


Regulation with particular reference to environmental regulation and regulation of technologies

Languages and other information

Only willing to work in the English language

Media experience

Radio and TV work for BBC; TV appearance for ITV and independent broadcast companies; Comment pieces for major broadsheet newspapers


  • Environmental Law and policy
  • Environmental legislation
  • Regulation of technologies

Policy experience

Work for regulators in UK and overseas as well as with international agencies.

Other information

Has worked extensively with government.