The Centre for Law and the Environment at UCC

The Centre for Law and the Environment at UCC

The Centre for Law and the Environment at University College Cork (UCC) draws together our research, teaching and policy work relating to law and the environment. Based in the School of Law, the Centre supports and promotes a wide range of high-impact research activity in Environmental, Marine, Climate, Energy and Natural Resources Law. While the Centre is rooted firmly in the discipline of Law, it is engaged in significant interdisciplinary research collaborations and extensive outreach and advocacy activity.

Contemporary developments in the field of environmental human rights law, and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, inform the Centre’s activities.  Identifying, developing and promoting innovative legal and policy responses to the climate challenge is a significant focus for the Centre.

The Centre for Law and the Environment is affiliated with UCC’s flagship, interdisciplinary Environmental Research Institute (ERI). The Centre’s researchers work closely with ERI colleagues, including for example, in the context of the UCC Climate Lab.

The Centre assists in coordination of ongoing research collaboration between researchers in the School of Law and the Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy (MaREI) on the Marine Institute-funded Navigate Project on Ocean Law and Marine Governance.


The Centre is led by its two Directors, Professor Owen McIntyre and Dr Áine Ryall.

It comprises seven full and part-time academic staff, from the School of Law and beyond, whose primary research interests focus on aspects of Environmental, Marine, Climate, Energy and Natural Resources Law: Prof Owen McIntyre, Dr Áine Ryall, Dr Bjorn-Oliver Magsig, Dr Anne Marie O’Hagan, Dr Bénédicte Sage-Fuller, Dr Phyllis Comerford and Dr Ruby Moynihan. 

Adding significantly to the Centre’s breadth of expertise are three full-time academic staff in the School of Law who pursue research in closely related areas of Law, including Corporate Governance, the Law of Protest and Public Order, and Disaster Law: Professor Irene Lynch Fannon, Dr Fiona Donson and Dr Dug Cubie.

The Centre is home to a significant number of PhD candidates and work is underway to develop new postdoctoral research opportunities. 

Advisory Board

The Centre is supported by an Advisory Board comprised of a mix of academics and practitioners with expertise across a wide range of fields of direct relevance to the Centre’s activities.  It typically consists of six to eight members.  The main role of the Advisory Board, which meets on an annual basis, is to assist the Centre in developing and implementing its strategic goals.  It will also facilitate the Centre to stay well informed of new developments and opportunities, both nationally and globally, in areas of research related to its activities.

Advisory Board Members as at 1 January 2019

Prof Sarah Culloty, Director, Environmental Research Institute, UCC

Prof Elizabeth Kirk, University of Lincoln

Mr Conor Linehan, William Fry Solicitors

Ms Gillian Lobo, ClientEarth

Prof Patrick Parenteau, Vermont Law School

Prof Colin Reid, University of Dundee

Dr Tom Ryan, Director, Office of Environmental Enforcement, Environmental Protection Agency

LLM Programmes

The School of Law UCC offers two specialist LLM programmes which reflect our expertise in Environmental, Marine, Climate, Energy and Natural Resources Law:

Visiting Fulbright Fellow

In September 2018, Professor Patrick Parenteau of the Environmental Law Center at Vermont Law School will join the School of Law, UCC for a semester as a Visiting Fulbright Fellow. Professor Parenteau will teach an LLM module on Environmental Citizen Suits and will also share his unrivalled experience of establishing Environmental Law Clinics.


The Centre for Law and the Environment acknowledges the support of the Head of Law Strategic Fund 2017-2018 which facilitated the development of this website.

Annual Law and the Environment Conference

For the past 16 years, the School of Law, UCC, has hosted the Annual Law and the Environment Conference.  A unique event in the Irish environmental calendar, the conference provides a forum for the expert presentation of legal developments and research results in the area of environmental law, regulation and policy, as well as an informal forum for the exchange of views among policy-makers and regulators, regulated operators, the environmental NGO community, and Irish (and overseas) academic researchers and professionals.  In 2018, the conference theme is Towards Environmental Responsibility, Accountability and Liability.


Teaching Environmental Law for Policy Innovation and Impact

The Centre for Law & the Environment is engaged in a research project on the theme Teaching Environmental Law for Policy Innovation and Impact (2020-2021). 

The project aims to design, develop and test a series of new models of experiential learning in the field of environmental law and policy.  The climate and biodiversity crisis confirms the importance of this project.  There is a pressing need to improve students’ capacity for critical thinking in response to complex societal challenges.

The overarching aim is to transform the learning experience while, at the same time, producing specific student-generated outputs that contribute to policy development and support community engagement. 

The project is led by Dr Áine Ryall Principal Investigator, Co-Director, Centre for Law & the Environment. The project team comprises: Professor Mark Poustie, Dean of Law UCC; Professor Owen McIntyre, Co-Director, Centre for Law & the Environment; and Cara O’Mahony, Research Assistant to the project.

Our research is funded by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and the Higher Education Authority.

More info on this project is available here: Teaching Environmental Law for Policy Innovation and Impact

Centre for Law and the Environment

Room 1.63, T12 T656