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School of Law

Professor Rafael Leal-Arcas publishes new research resulting from his research grants, funded by the EU Commission.

Rafael Leal-Arcas, Jean Monnet Chaired Professor of EU International Economic Law at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), publishes new research resulting from his research grants, funded by the EU Commission.


1. R. Leal-Arcas and A. Morelli, “The Resilience of the Paris Climate Agreement: Negotiating and Implementing the Climate Regime,” Georgetown Environmental Law Review, Vol. 31.1, forthcoming in 2019

This timely article provides a forward-thinking analysis regarding the transition to clean energy.

In addition to an inspired description of how integrated, common international interests combat movements seeking to undo the Paris Climate Agreement, this article offers a behavioural economics analysis of prosumer market factors. Transitioning to clean energy cannot be achieved solely through top-down or bottom-up methods; rather, a symbiotic relationship between government or businesses creating opportunities and individual prosumers is key. Our emphasis on the effectiveness of bottom-up factors like smart cities, NGOs, and ordinary citizens is distinct from other research and it is exciting.


2. R. Leal-Arcas, “New Frontiers of International Economic Law: The quest for sustainable development,” University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, Vol. 40, Issue 1, 2018

The purpose of this article is to explain new horizons and perspectives in international economic law in the context of sustainable development. This article explores the potential of the trading system in helping mitigate climate change and enhancing sustainable energy. The argument is that trade agreements have tremendous potential to help mitigate climate change, which is currently under-explored. The article first explains how trade agreements may be a legal instrument to mitigate climate change and enhance sustainable energy. It then provides an analysis of the challenges of mitigating climate change and enhancing sustainable energy. Next, it examines the synergistic links between the trading and climate regimes and offers forum options that best deal with them with the aim to help mitigate climate change and enhance sustainable energy. The article ends with what the future may hold on the links between international trade and renewable energy.


3. R. Leal-Arcas, Leniewska, and Proedrou, F., “Smart grids in the European Union: Assessing energy security, regulation & social and ethical considerations,” Columbia Journal of European Law, Vol. 24.2, pp. 311-410, 2018

 The purpose of this article is to provide an analysis of smart grids in the European Union (EU) as a way forward to reach sustainable energy. It does so by assessing the energy security, regulatory, and social and ethical aspects of smart grids in the EU. The article represents a significant milestone in the upscaling of the various aspects of smart grid technology across the EU. It deals with smart grid deployment and their impact on energy security with a view to a stronger role of prosumers in the energy market. It also analyses smart grid regulation. Specifically, it examines the existing legal frameworks that impact smart grids in the EU. It outlines existing EU Directives and assesses the level of implementation of these Directives in various EU Member States. This article also assesses the extent to which the existing legal frameworks facilitate the development of smart grids and proposes areas of further regulatory consideration. The article then explores the social and ethical dimension of smart grids in the context of the collaborative economy, the circular economy, and digital technology, including cybersecurity and data-management issues.




4. R. Leal-Arcas, Leniewska, and Proedrou, F., “Prosumers: New actors in EU energy security,” Netherlands Yearbook of International Law 2017, Vol. 48, Chapter 5, pp. 139-172, TMC Asser Press

 This paper critically analyses the new challenges and opportunities that prosumers, as new energy actors, bring to achieving energy security goals in the context of the European Union (EU). Following trends in the EU towards new levels of cooperation in energy governance, decentralization, and the emergence of a gig economy, the energy sector is currently undergoing a large-scale transition. One of its core aspects is the progressive top-down diffusion of potential, competences, and leverage across the energy value chain from states and corporate actors towards prosumers. While this trend creates ample potential for facilitating and improving the EU’s security of supply, as well as fulfilling its climate change targets, several caveats exist. These caveats are not confined within energy security prerogatives; they also extend to the critical management of digital security, which the digitalization of energy services brings to the fore. Private and public finance should be effectively attracted and directed to infrastructure schemes that will enable a transition from the traditional centralized power network to the decentralized nexus of smart grids. Technology will play a crucial role in facilitating the role of prosumers in the new market in-the-making.




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