We are excited to invite law students to participate in the Best International Future Lawyer Award competition focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) this year. The competition is organised by AIJA, the international association of young lawyers.
The aim of the competition is to develop law students’ understanding of the global development agenda. We want to encourage them to identify international legal frameworks or law approaches in achieving the SDGs.
Submission should consist of a written essay (in English) that explores the role, potential and limitation of international law in achieving the SDGs. Given the cross-cutting nature of the SDGs, submissions should address the three dimensions of sustainable development: environmental, economic and social. The essay can concentrate on one of the 17 SDGs or a mix of these goals. However, don’t feel held back. A strong argumentation that goes beyond the SDGs is also accepted. Ultimately, the essay should respond to the following question:
“If I could change the world…how can I, as a future lawyer, contribute to a more sustainable world?”
Xuejun Zhao’s essay delves specifically into SDG 13: Climate Action, where the current trend of climate litigation is analyzed. Her essay explores the feasibility of climate litigation, and considers the existing domestic cases, as well as the possibility of turning to the international realm.
Her essay illustrates that, while the courts may be our best hope of reversing the damage done to our planet, the domestic context may not be the solution. Hence, Xuejun’s essay analyses the possibility of creating of an International Environmental Court as a means of achieving SDG 13. In doing so, the issue of jurisdiction is considered, in addition to private party access.
Xuejun graduated from the University of Groningen in September 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in International and European Law. Due to her interest in sustainability, Xuejun continued her studies at the same university by pursuing a Master’s degree in Climate and Energy Law.
2018 - “Lunar Law - Is it mere Colony Law with Cosmic Application?”, Christopher Sawyer - Read here the essay
2017 - “Will the increasing use of technology in law invigorate or diminish legal professionalism as the nature of information in the Digital Society changes?”, Lorraine Chimbga - Read here the essay
2016 - “Governing Shared Natural Resources of the International Seabed Area”, Sharefah Almuhana - Read here the essay
Free AIJA membership until 2022.
Publication of the winner’s name and essay on AIJA’s channels.
Invitation to attend free of charge the 2019 International Young Lawyers’ Congress taking place in Rome, Italy, from 3-7 September. Travel and accommodation will also be covered.
1-year scholarship with Loyola Law School.
The two special mentions are awarded to Judith Creppy for her essay ‘Would legal personhood help to ensure a better protection for the environment?’ and Rebeca Spuch for her essay on the intersection between education and the Sustainable Development Goals. The two essays have proven great quality, as well as a good understanding of the SDGs and law.
Judith’s essay, titled ‘Would legal personhood help to ensure a better protection for the environment?” draws a brief overview of international environmental law and its principles to discuss the potentiality of acknowledging the environment as a legal object instead of a mere legal subject. It uses already existing legal basis to build a theory on how to secure peace, protect commons and the fauna and flora in the event of the environment being granted legal personhood while taking into account potential threats to states sovereignty. Ultimately, she concludes that although legal systems could be used to ensure a better protection for some components of the environment, education remains the key to achieve and maintain sustainable development.
Judith Creppy is a third-year student at University Paris II Panthéon-Assas in Paris where she’s completing a bachelor in private law and serving as Vice-President in charge of ELSA (the European Law Students Association) Moot Court Competitions to encourage her fellow students to explore the miscellaneous aspects of international public and private law through mock trials. She intends on pursuing a masters in trade law as well as a Certificate of General International Studies as she would like to delve into international financial and fiscal law.
Rebeca Spuch’s essay seeks to explore the intersection between education and other Sustainable Development Goals, in order to show the importance of strengthening the right to education to form a society compromised with the Sustainable Development Agenda.
Her essay starts from an historical analysis of the development of education, passing through the movements that have led to a public and accessible education, its increasing use by the States as a form of social control, up until its affirmation as an International Human Right.
Rebeca then addresses how education interrelates with other Sustainable Development Goals, especially in fighting poverty, achieving gender equality and the inclusion of people with disabilities and creating environmental awareness. Lastly, her essay points out the role of the International Lawyer as an educator himself, since it has the power to make International Human Rights Law more accessible to those who need it the most.
Rebeca is a Bachelor Student of Law in the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUCSP) and works as an intern in the Public Law and Compliance team of Castro Barros Advogados. She has also taken the ‘International Law and International Humanitarian Law’ summer course in the University of Geneva.
In 2015, 193 UN Member States agreed on a Sustainable Development Agenda document titled “Transformation of our world – 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. The 2030 SDG Agenda consists of an ambitious set of 17 goals and 169 targets, and stresses that these are much broader than environmental protection and should be ‘implemented in a manner which is consistent with the rights and obligations of States under international law’. Access to justice and the rule of law are recognised through the 2030 Agenda as enablers of sustainable development. These are mentioned explicitly in SDG16 and embedded implicitly in other goals and targets through references to equality, inclusion and equity, rights, legal frameworks.
Registrations open on February 7th and close on June 2nd, 2019.