Andrew Lees Essay Prize 

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 2022

Thank you for all your entries; we are now in the process of judging and will announce the winning essay later in May. 

The question set by our judges is:

"Current regulatory approaches to Net Zero are ineffective in addressing the climate crisis." Discuss
The winner will have the opportunity to present their essay (or a summary thereof) at the UKELA Annual Conference 2022 in a Speakers’ Corner slot (date and time to be confirmed). Speakers’ Corner is for our younger members to have a voice to speak about something about which they feel passionately. The winner will also receive a free place to join the online event.


The winner will have their article published in UKELA’s journal e-law and on the UKELA website. All entries must be submitted by midday 26 April and accompanied by a completed competition form and comply with the competition rules. Good luck!

Andrew Lees Prize Article Competition 2021

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

2020 The competition did not run this year

 2019 Winner

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

2018 winner

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


2017 Winner

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


2016 winner

The winner of the 2016 competition was John Morgan, a trainee solicitor at Brodies LLP in Glasgow. He currently works in the firm’s employment law division, within which he will continue to work following his qualification later in 2016. He attended the University of Glasgow for his LLB and the University of Edinburgh for his Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, also spending time abroad at the Universities of Toronto, Connecticut and Cagliari where he specialised in Constitutional, International and EU Law. He holds great interest in international mechanisms for the advancement of environmental policy, of which the Paris Agreement is the latest iteration.

>Read the 2016 winning essay

2015 winner

The winner of the 2015 competition was Matthew Henderson, a a postgraduate student studying for the GDL at City University, London. Matthew’s winning essay on the topic of “the Greenest Government ever?” was felt by the judges to be an extremely polished and crisp analysis using a good range of examples and some comparative material. They also thought that Matthew’s essay was selective in the ground covered, but used material to good effect and worked towards a strong conclusion.

2014 winner

The winner of the 2014 competition was Jessica Allen, a student studying Law with French & French Law at Nottingham University. Her winning essay was on the theme of “In UK environmental law today, politics and law do not mix. Discuss.” Jessica was keen to look into areas of law outside the core modules of her degree and researched environmental law, with a particular interest on the European comparative. 


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