Professor Robert Lee

Professor Robert Lee

Birmingham Law School
Emeritus Professor

Contact details

Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor Robert Lee is the Director of the Centre for Legal Education and Research  at the University of Birmingham. 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.

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

  • Director of CEPLER



  • Environmental Law & Economics (2 Volumes) (with I D Campbell, Eds) Ashgate, International Library of Environmental Law and Policy, January 2008.
  • Environmental Law (Volume 14 of the Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents) LexisNexis April 2008.
  • Economic Globalization and Ecological Localization: Socio-Legal Perspectives (with Elen Stokes, Eds) Wiley Blackwell, 2009
  • The New Regulation and Governance of Food: Beyond the Food Crisis? (with T. Marsden, A. Flynn and S. Thankappan) Routledge, 2010


  • Legal Services in Rural Wales – a study of Law Firms (with Franklin A) (March 2006) Law Society, England and Wales
  • 'Report on the Current Organisation of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals and Related Agreements: The Future Shape of CMS and the CMS Family ' (Nairobi: UNEP, 2009), 48pp (with R. Caddell, B. Filgueira and L. Frater).
  • Legal Implications of the Nord Stream Project (with Frater L & Vaughan S) (2008) A Report for the Committee of Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament
  • Food Futures: Rethinking UK Strategy (with Ambler-Edwards et al) Chatham House 2009
  • An examination of the nature and application among the nanotechnologies industries of corporate social responsibility in the context of safeguarding the environment and human health with Groves et al (June 2009) Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
  • Cost Barriers to Environmental Justice (with Radoslaw Stech and Debbie Tripley) (January 2010), Environmental Law Foundation
  • Food For Wales, Food From Wales (2010 – 2020)  (Food and Drink Partnership for Wales/Welsh Assembly Government: The Welsh Food Strategy, 2010)
  • Convention on Migratory Species : Future Shape (CMS, Bonn, 2011) (with B. Filgueira and L. Frater – available at:
  • The State of UK Environmental Law in 2011-2012 – Is there a case for legislative reform?  (May 2012) (BRASS with joint contribution with UKELA and King’s College London)
  • Business Perceptions of Environmental Legislation – A Response to UKELA’s Interim Report on the Quality of UK Environmental Legislation (May 2012) (BRASS with joint contribution with UKELA and King’s College London)

Journal papers

  • Between Realism and Functionalism: The Brussels Law Office Recht der Werkelijkheid (Special Issue, 2005 – In Lawyers’ Circles Jettinghoff A and Schepel H (eds)) at pp. 65 - 85.
  • Talking ‘bout my Generation: The Remediation Liability of Waster Producers (with Daniel Lawrence) (2006) 8 Environmental Law Review pp 9-28
  • Less than Nine Points: Adverse Possession and the Right to Peaceful Enjoyment of Property (December 2006) Journal of Business Law pp 853-858.
  • The Embedded Nature of Rural Services: Sustaining Service Provision in Wales (2007) 34(2) Journal of Law and Society pp218-43 (with Alex Franklin)
  • Ethical Codes and Cultural Context: Ensuring legal ethics in the global law firm (with Laurence Etherington) (2007) 14(1) Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 95-118.
  • Banking and the Environment: Not Liability but Responsibility (2007) Journal of Business Law (November) 868 – 883 (with Tamara Egede)
  • Self interest, Self restraint and Corporate Responsibility for Nano-technologies: Emerging Dilemmas for Modern Managers (with PD Jose) (2008) 20(1) Technology Analysis & Strategic Management 113 - 125
  • Surveying Waste Arisings and Developing Waste Policy: Problems and Pitfalls 35 Journal of Law and Society (Special Research Issue) (2008) 52 – 66 (with Lori Frater)
  • Rehabilitating the Definition of Waste: Is It Fully Recovered?  (With Elen Stokes) (2008) 8 The Year Book of European Environmental Law 162-181
  • Marketing Products under the Latest Extended Producer Responsibility Framework: A Battery of Issues (2008) 17(3) Review of European Community & International Environmental Law 300-307
  • The (Not So) Great Escape: Legal and Moral Responsibility for the Foot and Mouth Outbreak 2007 (2009) IV Ethics, Law & Society 377 - 388
  • Environmental Governance: Reconnecting the Global and the Local (with Elen Stokes) (2009) 36(1) Journal of Law and Society 1-10
  • The Globalization and Relocalization of Material Flows: Four Phases of Food Regulation (with Terry Marsden) (2009) 36(1) Journal of Law and Society 129-144
  • Twenty First Century Novel: Regulating Nanotechnologies (with Elen Stokes) (2009) 21(3) Journal of Environmental Law 469-482
  • Sub-Seabed Carbon Sequestration: Building the Legal Platform (2009) 30(2) Liverpool Law Review 131-146
  • Old Iron: Birth Defects Litigation and the Corby Steelworks’ Reclamation (2009) 25(4) Journal of Professional Negligence 174- 186
  • The contaminated land regime in England and Wales and the corporatisation of environmental lawyers (2010) 17(1) International Journal of the Legal Profession pp35-58 (with Steven Vaughan)
  • Liberalisation of legal services in Europe: progress and prospects (2010) 30(2) Legal Studies pp186-207
  • REACHing Down: Nanomaterials and Chemical Safety in the European Union (2010) 2(2) Law, Innovation and Technology pp193-217 (with Steven Vaughan)
  • Is There Room at the Bottom for CSR? Corporate Social Responsibility and Nanotechnology in the UK (2011) Journal of Business Ethics DOI 10.1007/s10551-010-0731-7 (with Chris Groves, Lori Frater & Elen Stokes)
  • Food Futures: system transitions towards UK food security (Sept 2011) Journal of Human Rights and the Environment Volume 2 Number 2 (with Terry Marsden) pp 201-216
  • Look at Mother Nature on the Run in the 21 st Century: Responsibility, Research and Innovation (April 2012) 1(1) Transnational Environmental Law pp 105–117
  • Leading the charge? Payments for single use carrier bags in Wales (Winter 2012) Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 63(4) pp 551-562 (with Lori Frater)
  • Regulated Utilities and the Justiciability of Claims in Nuisance (2013) (2) Journal of Business Law (with Steven Vaughan) pp 196-209

Chapters in edited collections

  • Ecological Modernisation & Environmental Regulation: Corporate Compliance and Accountability (with Juanita Elias) in MacLeod S Global Governance and the Quest for Justice: Corporations and Corporate Governance Hart (2007).
  • Setting Environmental Standards within a Socioeconomic Context (with Andrew Farmer et al.) in Crane M, et al. Derivation and Use of Environmental Quality Standards for Chemical Substances in Water and Soil (Taylor and Francis, 2010) 5 - 29
  • Mediating Sustainability: Constructivist Approaches to Sustainability Research (with Radoslaw Stech) in Franklin A and Blyton P Researching Sustainability: A Guide to Social Science Methods, Practice and Engagement (Earthscan, 2011) pp175-189
  • Access to Environmental Justice in England and Wales: Funding Representation for Court Reviews of Administrative Action (with Radoslaw Stech) in Steele J and van Boom W H Mass Justice: Challenges of Representation and Distribution (Edward Elgar, 2011) pp138-168.
  • The Food Strategy for Wales: a soft law instrument? in Bishop P and Stallworthy M Environmental Law and Policy in Wales – Responding to Local and Global Challenges (University of Wales Press, 2013) pp105-121.
  • Adaptive Governance for Responsible Innovation (with Judith Petts) in Owen R, Bessant J and Heintz M Responsible Innovation: Managing the Responsible Emergence of Science and Innovation in Society Wiley 2013 pp 143 – 164
  • ‘From the Criminal to the Consensual: the Shifting Mechanisms of Environmental Regulation’ (with M Stallworthy), in A M Viens, J Coggan & A Kessel (eds.),  Criminal Law, Philosophy and Public Health Practice , Cambridge University Press (2013), 214-36 
  • ‘European Food Governance: The Contrary Influence of Agricultural Exceptionalism and Economic Liberalisation’ in Marsden T and Morley A Sustainable Food Systems: Building a New Paradigm , Earthscan (2014) 62-83.

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.

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities