Andrew Lees was the Campaigns Director for Friends of the Earth and a leading environmental campaigner on a range of issues from water pollution to illegal waste dumping. He died suddenly in 1994 while on a working holiday in Madagascar campaigning against a large opencast mine. Read more about the Andrew Lees Trust.

Andrew Lees Prize Article Competition Winner 2022

The winner of the Andrew Lees essay prize 2022 is Sebastian Van Dack-Owens.  Our judges advised that the essay "adopted an engaging writing style and provided a compelling argument about the role of regulation in addressing the "frightening reality of the climate crisis". It was a well-researched piece that demonstrated a good understanding and analysis of the relevant environmental law, but also situated the argument in the wider context of scientific and political debates". 



Sebastian is currently studying the Bar Training Course at BPP’s London Holborn campus part time, for which he was awarded two scholarships by BPP, while also working in a non-law role.  He previously had a varied professional life, including a stint in finance, and running his own events promotion firm.  Since moving into law Sebastian has spent time with Liberty on their advice team helping with human rights issues, and assisted JUSTICE as a researcher on a working party paper for reforming benefits. He currently volunteers with Advocate while studying and working, and has also worked and volunteered with law centres and legal advice charities in social security and immigration law teams for several years, supporting these in his own time fundraising as part of the London Legal Walk for the last three years.  Additionally Sebastian discovered that he was shortlisted as a finalist for the Future Legal Mind competition 2022, just after being told he had won the Andrew Lees prize!

Many thanks go to our essay setters and judges, Dr Helen Dancer - Senior Lecturer in Law and Anthropology, University of Sussex and Dr Victoria Jenkins - Associate Professor of Law, Swansea University. The question set was "Current regulatory approaches to Net Zero are ineffective in addressing the climate crisis." Discuss.

Read the winning essay here.



The winner of the Andrew Lees essay prize 2021 is Niamh Kelly.  Our judges advised her entry was a well written and researched piece. The essay provided a thoughtful and critical reflection of anthopocentrism and presented a novel and persuasive argument in seeking to navigate the dichotomy between anthropocentrism and ecocentrism.  The judges were very impressed by the student's understanding of the relevant issues and felt that the student's clear presentation, of what is undoubtedly a provocative position, would form the basis of a really engaging presentation at UKELA's conference as part of the prize.  Niamh is a Law and French Law graduate from Merton College, Oxford, who spent a year abroad studying at Université Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas. She studied environmental law as an undergraduate in both the UK and France. She is now in her second year of a training contract at Slaughter and May, where she has sat in the real estate and competition departments. She is currently on client secondment to Standard Life Aberdeen.  Congratulations Niamh and thank you to all the entrants for making the competition so interesting.  

Many thanks go to our essay setters and judges, Dr Helen Dancer - Lecturer in Law, University of Sussex and Dr Victoria Jenkins - Associate Professor of Law, Swansea University.

>Read the winning essay here


The winner of the Andrew Lees essay prize 2019 was Ryan Ross. Ryan is a History graduate (MA, MSc) from the University of Glasgow. He worked in academia for several years, obtaining a PhD in History, before undertaking the Graduate Diploma in Law and then Bar Professional Training Course. He is currently employed as a paralegal with a major public inquiry, and will commence pupillage with Old Square Chambers in October 2019. Congratulations Ryan! And thank you once again to our brilliant judges Bob Lee and Donald McGillivray, as well as all the other entrants for their hard work.

>Read the winning essay here


The winner of the Andrew Lees Essay prize competition for 2018 was Samuel March. Samuel is a Cambridge graduate (BA, MA) who spent five years working in communications, largely consulting for sustainability focussed international NGOs and non-profits in Geneva. He went on to study at the University of Law, where he enrolled on both the GDL and A4ID’s “Law for Development” course. Samuel won a place at the 2018 Annual Conference in Canterbury, and had his winning essay published in e-law. Well done Samuel! Many thanks go to our essay setters and judges, Bob Lee and Donald McGillivray.

>Read the winning essay here


The winner of the Andrew Lees Essay prize 2017 was Ciju Puthuppally. Ciju is a law graduate from Downing College, Cambridge. He has previously worked as Legal Assistant for an environmental NGO in Austria and won the ELSA Moot’s Best Orator prize arguing about pollution from gold mining in the European Court of Human Rights. He will be starting a paralegal post at Mishcon de Reya in July before he commences pupillage with Three Raymond Buildings in 2018.

> Read the 2017 winning essay


For general information on environmental issues, visit our sister site Law and Your environment