Covid-19: Illegal Wildlife Trade, Habitat Loss and International Environmental Law

Bookings now open!

Join UKELA's Environmental Litigation Working Party for this highly topical Zoom seminar from 4-6pm.

Covid-19: Illegal Wildlife Trade, Habitat Loss and International Environmental Law

We are delighted to welcome three expert speakers:

  • Professor Nicolas de Sadeleer, Professor of Environmental Law at Saint-Louis University (Brussels), and Legal Advisor to Client Earth
  • Stephen Tromans QC, 39 Essex Chambers
  • Tim Scott, Senior Policy Advisor, Environment, Nature, Climate, Energy, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP): COVID-19: Risk and Opportunities to Build Back Better, Greener and More Equitably

The Chair is Jill Crawford, co-convenor of the Environmental Litigation Working Party.


Covid-19 has given us all space to think, and as the extract below from the Editorial in the February edition of the journal Nature suggests, there appear to be clear connections between the outbreak of the virus and the continued destruction of the natural world:

"...The original host for SARS-CoV-2 was probably bats, but an intermediate host would have been involved in the transition to humans. At the time of writing, there is considerable speculation that this was pangolins. If confirmed, the outbreak would follow a similar pattern to the 2002 SARS virus, which transitioned from bats to humans via civet cats involved in the wildlife trade. Trade in pangolins in China is illegal, but continues nevertheless because their meat and scales are highly valued. Although pangolins were not listed on the inventory of the Wuhan wildlife market thought to be the origin of the outbreak, it is possible that illegal pangolin trade was occurring there. Regardless of the actual species involved, COVID-19 highlights the urgent case for permanent closure of the legal wildlife trade, as well as attempts to prevent its illegal counterpart."

Join us as we consider some of the wider legal issues raised by this debate. How are legal systems protecting habitats around the world? What recent litigation has occurred in countries around the world challenging threats to biodiversity and habitat loss? And if the virus has stemmed from the Chinese wet markets, does international environmental law offer any way to challenge these practices?


We look forward to seeing you on 27th May. Booking is essential - please log in to register your place. 


About our Speakers

Nicolas de Sadeleer is professor in Saint-Louis University (Brussels). He is a specialist of EU law (institutions, internal market), environmental law (international and domestic) and comparative law. He is an active commentator on EU legal and political issues in the areas of trade, investment, and sustainable development. In addition to holding guest academic positions at over forty universities around the world, he has been the recipient of five international university chairs. In addition, he has worked as a lawyer and as consultant with national and international authorities on a wide range of environmental issues. His research has been published with leading scholarly publishing houses and journals around the globe. He is well known for his books on Environmental Principles (OUP, 2002) and EU Environmental Law and the Internal Market (OUP, 2014).

Tim Scott serves as a Senior Policy Advisor on Environment for the United Nations Development Programme based in New York. He is a Team Leader on Environmental Governance within the Nature, Climate and Energy Team of the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support and Global Policy Network. He oversees a portfolio of global projects and initiatives designed to help advance the 2030 Agenda by mainstreaming environmental, social, and economic concerns into the planning, financing, and implementation of national and sector policies for forests, agriculture, mining, and other economic activities. This work includes a focus on inclusive green economy, circular economy, and human-rights-based approaches. He has over twenty-five years of international experience including a variety of assignments with the UN, government and civil society looking at the intersection between environmental sustainability, societal progress, governance, and durable economic growth. This includes work on economic management, public administration, aid coordination, trade and FDI, gender equality, climate change, green and circular economy, and the poverty-environment nexus.

Stephen Tromans QC has been involved in environmental law since the early 1980s, as an academic at Cambridge, then as a solicitor, and since 1999 as a barrister.  He was appointed QC in 2009, and practices from 39 Essex Chambers, of which he was joint Head from 2012-2016.  His first article on environmental law, dealing with remedies in the law of nuisance, was published in the Cambridge Law Journal in 1981.  Since then he has authored books on the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Contaminated Land, Nuclear Law, and Environmental Impact Assessment.  He was one of the founders, and a former Chair, of UKELA; a former Chair of the Environmental Law Foundation; has acted as a special adviser to Select Committees in both Houses of Parliament, and to the European Commission.  He is a member of the government’s advisory Committee on Radioactive Waste Management, and provides pro bono help to a number of environmental charities and NGOs, as well as having a wide-ranging practice across many areas of environmental and energy law.

5/27/2020 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
GMT Standard Time

Sign In

NOW BOOKING June10 Lunchtime Legal Update 1pm
All events


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