Appointed Chair in Energy Law in July 2016, I was previously also a tenured Professor of Law at Flinders University in South Australia for 7 years, where I retain Adjunct status. Prior to then, I was Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Chinese University of Hong Kong (2007-2010). I have also worked at law schools in Galway, Exeter and Tasmania; business schools in South Australia; practised as an advisory lawyer at the Environment Agency of England and Wales; and in mainly litigious private practice in England and Australia.
I was educated in England, Scotland and Tasmania, and hold degrees in Arts (York BA Hons, Politics), Laws (Aberdeen LLM Environmental Law), and Philosophy (Tasmania PhD). After completing the Law Society Common Professional and Finals Examinations and two years articles of clerkship with a firm in Surrey, UK, I was admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. I was subsequently admitted as a Legal Practitioner (Barrister and Solicitor) of the Supreme Court of Tasmania, Australia.
I specialise in international, comparative and national environmental and energy law, and the relationship between law and politics. As an interdisciplinary scholar,I have a keen interest in global governance, constitutionalism and regions and sub-regions, particularly in Asia, Australasia, Europe and at the Poles.
My research interests are primarily in the relationship between law, politics and the environment. Over the course of my academic career, my research has focused on eight main areas:
The subject area of my doctoral studies, this has encompassed links between law and management, and has concentrated upon environmental impact assessment (EIA) in transboundary contexts and strategic environmental assessment (SEA). I have continued to research into these areas over the last 20 years or so, with expertise in various domestic jurisdictions (UK, Australia, Hong Kong) and in international and European law.
Transboundary environmental governance
While initiated by my interests in environmental assessment, this has broadened considerably over the last 5 or 6 years to include other issues, which have linked international law with international relations. In particular they have focused on the regional environmental agreements of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) and sub-regional agreements that apply in Asia, such as the Mekong Agreement.
My interest in international compliance procedures relates to my scholarship more generally on the relationship between international and European law. I have examined the distinction between dispute settlement and dispute avoidance,the relationship between national implementation reporting and compliance controls, and considered specific arrangements under the ECE treaties, and in other international agreements such as the World Heritage Convention.
My interest in public participation derives from my background in EIA and experience with public law, whether domestically or internationally. In particular, I have had work published on the role of public participation in international law, especiallly on the ECE Aarhus Convention in the relationship between international and EU law - and connections with global administrative law - and the role of public inquiries in understanding major environmental and resource conflicts in the UK and Australia.
Within the context of conservation law, protected areas are a particular interest, notably the international environmental agreements that inscribe and protect properties/species under the World Heritage, Wetlands and Biodiversity Conventions. I have strong interests in wilderness / wild land which, like the interests in the conservation conventions, I have explored in domestic contexts, notably in Australia, Canada, and, recently, the UK / Scotland.
In addition to analysing how the other areas of focus operate in Arctic and Antarctic contexts, I have also analysed other international law in polar contexts,recently issues related to fisheries and search and rescue. Governance of the Third Pole (Himalayas / Tibetan Plateau) is the other area of significant recent research focus, which is highly interdisciplinary in scope as well as broad in content.
Energy law and policy
Of the three areas of the energy 'triangle' (economics, politics, environment), my focus is 'squarely' upon the last two. I have recently researched issues of public participation and national security in energy contexts, and have longstanding strengths in environmental dimensions of energy issues, particularly evaluating significant environmental effects from major projects. These interests have been contextualised into my main areas of geographical focus (Australia, Asia, Europe and the Poles).
In a domestic context, I have experience of constitutional and administrative law from teaching in the UK and Australia, and legal practice at the Environment Agency of England and Wales. I have also published on constitutional law issues in Hong Kong, in connection with the developing Hong Kong-China relationship. I continue to follow the public law and domestic politics of the UK, Australia and Hong Kong closely, especially the relationship between the devolved governance of Scotland and the UK, state-federal matters in Australia, and the autonomy-sovereignty discourse in the HKSAR.
Recent Book Endorsements / Reviews
Protecting the Third Pole: Transplanting International Law (Elgar, 2019)
‘This book offers an in-depth assessment of the relevance of international environmental law for protecting one of the world’s most fascinating ecological regions – the Hindu-Kush Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau. The Third Pole, as this high altitude area is known, is under enormous pressure from local, regional and global threats, including climate change. Marsden assesses the potential for ‘transplanting’ successful environmental regimes from other contexts to the Third Pole, and makes a major contribution to understanding the potential for enhanced environmental governance in this vital region.’
– Tim Stephens, University of Sydney, Australia
‘While to some extent international law protects the first two poles (the Arctic and Antarctic), it has largely been ignored for the “Third Pole” (the Hindu Kush Himalayas / Tibetan Plateau). This book responds to this by reviewing measures for Asia’s polar region. Supplementing analysis of customary international law with potential treaty law, it analyses the practicalities of legal borrowing together with the content of such measures. In doing so it provides an extremely welcome contribution to existing literature on international transplants and broadens the discipline of polar law.’
– Timo Koivurova, University of Lapland, Finland
Environmental Regimes in Asian Subregions: China and the Third Pole (Elgar, 2017)
'Simon Marsden’s book is extremely timely and provides a very welcome addition to the literature on legal frameworks towards the environment in Asia. The book covers a wide variety of legal regimes from southwest to south and southeast Asia with special attention to the Tibetan Plateau and China’s approach towards (transboundary) environmental governance. It will be of great help to researchers, planners, legal experts, and policy makers focusing on the protection of one of the world’s most unique regions – the Third Pole.'
– Clemens Kunze, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Nepal
‘The Third Pole sits on top of the world, and rightly so. Its pure magnificence steers global action and politics. The fate of the Third Pole might equal the fate of China and of mankind as we know it. Thus, one cannot overstate the relevance of this region and the topic overall. This thorough book comes up with a new, and overlooked angle: the law, policies and governance instruments for this region so essential for mankind. While one might ponder whether the law for this region, for China, and for global governance, acts as we know it in the western world and its courts, there is no doubt that a suitable, effective, fair and sustainable policy scheme is required for this region (also referred to as the "Water Towers" of the world). This milestone publication sets the stage and offers us a fresh and hopeful look at the issue. With climate change and many other threats on the rise, we all hope for the best.’
– Falk Huettmann, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, US
Transboundary Environmental Governance in Asia: Practice and Prospects with the UNECE Agreements (Elgar, 2015, with Brandon)
‘With an insightful, engaging and practical approach, Transboundary Environmental Governance in Asia addresses two areas in the existing literature that have received relatively little scholarly attention – the UNECE, the only one of the UN regional commissions to have produced any environmental treaties, and tackling cross-border environmental issues in Asia. Marsden and Brandon are to be applauded for their work, which promises to be a starting point for any future research and governance efforts in Asian environmental law and policy’. – Jolene Lin, The University of Hong Kong, HKSAR
'This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the UNECE’s environmental instruments and their associated implementation and compliance regimes… The most interesting parts of these chapters are where the prospects for the instruments are considered in terms of future development and influence in both Asia and globally… Chapter 8 reflects on the implementation of the UNECE instruments detailed earlier in the book. It does so through the use of Central Asia as a case study. The ‘real-world’ analysis in the context of Central Asia provides an effective framework within which to consider the potential as well as the challenges of the UNECE regime. Finally, Chapter 9 provides substantial analysis of the combined effect of the UNECE agreements. The strong structure of the concluding chapter facilitates an elegant ‘bringing-together’ of the various threads discussed throughout the book.' - Michelle Lim, Griffith Law School, Australia
Marsden S (2019) Environmental Assessment and International Fisheries Law. In: Caddell R & Molenaar E (eds.) Strengthening International Fisheries Law in an Era of Changing Oceans. London: Hart Publishing. https://www.bloomsburyprofessional.com/uk/strengthening-international-fisheries-law-in-an-era-of-changing-oceans-9781509923342/
Marsden S (2019) Regional Legal Frameworks for Search and Rescue: The Arctic Experience of Regulating Early Warning Systems. In: Samuel KL, Aronsson-Storrier M & Bookmiller KN (eds.) The Cambridge Handbook of Disaster Risk Reduction and International Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 352-370. http://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/law/public-international-law/cambridge-handbook-disaster-risk-reduction-and-international-law?format=HB
Marsden S (2018) Protecting Wild Land from Wind Farms in a Post-EU Scotland. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, 18 (2), pp. 295-314. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10784-017-9380-y
Marsden S (2017) Biodiversity Conservation of the Third Pole: Potential Lessons from the Mekong River Basin. Chinese Journal of Environmental Law, 1 (2), pp. 229-256. https://doi.org/10.1163/24686042-12340014
Marsden S (2017) The 'Triangle' of Australian Energy Law and Policy: Omissions, Connections and Evaluating Environmental Effects. Journal of Environmental Law, 29 (3), pp. 475-503. https://doi.org/10.1093/jel/eqx018
Marsden S (2017) Commissions and inquiries into the nuclear fuel cycle: Public participation and attitudes to risk and process. Environmental and Planning Law Journal, 34 (1), pp. 24-34. http://sites.thomsonreuters.com.au/journals/2016/12/29/environmental-and-planning-law-journal-update-vol-34-pt-1/
Marsden S (2016) From the High North to the Roof of the World: Arctic Precedents for Third Pole Governance. Yearbook of Polar Law Online, 8 (1), pp. 56-75. https://brill.com/view/journals/yplo/8/1/article-p56_6.xml
Marsden S (2016) Environmental Assessment of Cross-Border Development: China and the Third Pole. Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management, 18 (2), Art. No.: 1650009. https://doi.org/10.1142/S1464333216500095
Marsden S (2016) Wilderness protection in Europe and the relevance of the World Heritage Convention. In: Bastmeijer K (ed.) Wilderness Protection in Europe: The Role of International, European and National Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 137-159. http://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/law/environmental-law/wilderness-protection-europe-role-international-european-and-national-law?format=HB&isbn=9781107057890; https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107415287.006
Marsden S (2016) Strategic Environmental Assessment of Australian Offshore Oil and Gas Development: Ecologically Sustainable Development or Regulatory Reform?. Environmental and Planning Law Journal, 33 (1), pp. 21-30. http://legal.thomsonreuters.com.au/support/product-support.aspx?id=/mediaTree/71806
Marsden S & Brandon E (2015) Transboundary Environmental Governance in Asia: Practice and Prospects with the UNECE Agreements. 1st ed. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. http://www.e-elgar.com/shop/transboundary-environmental-governance-in-asia
Marsden S (2015) The World Heritage Convention: Compliance, Public Participation and the Rights of Indigenous People. Environmental and Planning Law Journal, 32 (Part 6), pp. 534-547. http://livepages.thomsonreuters.com.au/media/10421/eplj-vol-32-no-6-contents.pdf
Marsden S (2014) Reconciling regional autonomy with national sovereignty: what does China mean to Hong Kong?. In: Jenkins F, Nolan M & Rubenstein K (eds.) Allegiance and Identity in a Globalised World. Connecting International Law with Public Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 77-93. http://www.cambridge.org/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9781107074330; https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139696654.007
Marsden S (2014) Australian World Heritage in Danger. Environmental and Planning Law Journal, 31 (Part 3), pp. 192-209. http://livepages.thomsonreuters.com.au/media/5561/wau-eplj-vol-31-no-3-may-14-contents.pdf