The Energy and Natural Law Resources Institute (ENRLI) has recently been established at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS) in the School of Law at Queen Mary University of London, as a centre for innovation in legal studies and research in relation to the Energy and Natural Resources sector. Here, we share information about the new Institute and its aims and activities.
In autumn 2013, CCLS greeted its first students studying its new LLM in Energy and Natural Resources Law. Few universities focus on the research and study of energy and natural resources law and the LLM specialism is growing fast, offering students the opportunity to study under academic and industry leaders on a range of modules related to the field.
Norah Gallagher, Academic Director of the ENRLI says, “Our aim is to provide students with academic and practical insights into the energy sector. This year we had almost 50 students from over 30 different countries, many of them resource rich, with a keen interest in working in the growing energy markets”.The Energy and Natural Resources Law LLM specialism is already set to become one of CCLS’s most popular specialisms and highlights the need for a dedicated London based Institute.
The student experience has been supplemented by a series of guest lectures from leading energy and legal practitioners, including Andrew Clarke, General Counsel at Esso UK Limited and Peter Rees, Legal Director of Shell International BV, with lectures from the general counsels of BP, BG Group and EDF Energy to follow.
Olga Wisniewska, a student currently studying on the LLM specialism, said that, “Queen Mary University of London’s introduction in 2013 of the new LLM specialism in Energy and Natural Resources Law was the prevailing factor in determining the right university for me. The variety of modules that QMUL offers within this specialism perfectly suits my preferences.
The course has broadened my knowledge about international energy law which will be useful for my future professional career as an energy lawyer. In addition, modules are taught by professors with many years of practical experience in this subject.
During the International Energy Transactions module taught by Norah Gallagher, different professionals from various energy sectors presented a number of the lectures. This kind of practical approach has allowed me to learn from the most successful specialists in this sector, while the International Arbitration and Energy module conducted by Dr Maxi Scherer encouraged me to start considering an alternative career path as an arbitrator specializing in energy law.”
Like Olga, Vladyslav Vlasiuk, another student studying on the specialism, believes the course thus far has been enlightening and he has felt encouraged to pursue a career in the field, “The specialism gave me two important outcomes: precise knowledge about the massive and complicated world of energy, and, even more meaningfully, the inspiration to work in it.”
The LLM is just one activity of the ENRLI, which is set to become an international forum for discussion on energy law, dissemination of topical research through publication, seminars and engagement. Olga highlighted the significance of the ENRLI, “…There is no doubt that Queen Mary offers a unique opportunity for those who want to become a specialist in energy law and as far as I am concerned, this is the one and only university in the UK gathering together all the best specialists in this field.”
CCLS has been working closely with legal practitioners and industry specialists, establishing an advisory group and enlisting their expertise to inform aspects of the courses being offered on the LLM. This helps to ensure that the LLM programme meets the needs of students going into any aspect of the sector, whether it be practice, business, government, regulatory authorities or academia. CCLS has been fortunate to have the support of Exxon Mobil and Shell International BV, both of which have made generous donations to CCLS to aid the establishment of the new Institute.
A number of UK law firms are also contributing to the establishment of the Institute through donations, funding of research projects offering work experience opportunities, contributing to teaching, or in the case of Clifford Chance, hosting and sponsoring the Annual Lecture of the Institute.
Andrew Clarke, General Counsel of Exxon Mobil’s UK operations, and who chairs a group of industry professionals and academics who worked to establish the ENRLI, notes that,“ExxonMobil is very pleased to support the new Energy and Natural Resources Law Institute. This as an opportunity to promote and encourage a greater understanding of the legal and regulatory framework within which energy is being developed, not only in the United Kingdom but around the world.”
Read this and other stories in the CCLS Alumni News Bulletin 2014.