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School of Law

Dr Rebecca Bates, Professional qualifications (post nominals): BMediaLLB (Hons) (Macquarie University), LLM and PHD (University of Sydney). Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales


Lecturer in Environmental Law

Room Number: Mile End


Dr Rebecca Bates joined Queen Mary in January 2014 as a Lecturer in Environmental Law. Prior to arriving at Queen Mary, she held lectureships at the University of Sydney and Brunel University teaching in the areas of Environmental Law, Tort, Equity and Trusts and Public Law. Dr Bates completed her doctorate at the University of Sydney which examined the governance of privatised water markets in the domestic and international context. Dr Bates’ research is focused on the area of International Environmental Law with a particular interest in International Water Law and Governance. She regularly comments and contributes to international publications and conferences in these areas.

Dr Bates convenes International Environmental Law on the School’s undergraduate programme and International Natural Resources Law and Water Law on the postgraduate programme. She is the academic lead for the Public International Law LLM and Chair of the School’s Climate Action Group.

Outside academia, Dr Bates is admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and has previously worked at a leading Australian law firm in the area of Product Liability.


  • International Water Law
  • International Environmental Law
  • Environmental Governance
  • Environmental Rights
  • Trade and the Environment


Selected publications


  • Global Water: A New Era in Governance (Forthcoming: Cambridge University Press)

Articles and chapters

  • ‘Realizing the Right to Water within Environmental Limits’ (2019) 23(1) University of Denver Water Law Review 17 
  • ‘Water, Investment and Sustainability’ in Shawkat Alam, Jahid Hossain Bhuiyan and Jona Razzaque (eds) International Natural Resources Law, Investment and Sustainability (Routledge, 2018) 
  • ‘Trade in Water Services – How Does GATS Apply to the Water and Sanitation and Services Sector?’ in Julien Chaisse (ed) Charting the Water Regulatory Future: Ideas, Issues and Challenges (Edward Elgar, 2017)
  •  ‘Similar but Different: Comparative Perspectives on Access to Water in Australia and South Africa’ (with Louis Kotze) (2012) 15(2) University of Denver Water Law Review 222
  • ‘Touring the Antarctic: Transforming Environmental Governance in the Southern Latitudes’, (2011) 14(1) Asia Pacific Journal of Environmental Law 43
  • ‘The Road to the Well: The Evolution of the Customary Right to Water’ (2010) 19 (3) Review of European Community and International Environmental Law 282.
  • ‘The Trade in Water Services: How Does GATS Apply to the Water and Sanitation Services Sector?’ (2009) 31(1) Sydney Law Review 121.

Book reviews

  • ‘Global Environmental Governance: Law and Regulation for the 21st Century’ by Louis J. Kotze (2014) Journal of Environmental Law (forthcoming).
  • ‘The Human Right to Water: Significance, Legal Status and Implications for Water Allocation by Inga T. Winkler’ (2012) 1(2) International Human Rights Law Review 395-7.


  • ‘Defining Water: An Exploration of International Water Governance and Technology’ IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium, University of Strathclyde 2018.
  • ‘The Trade in Water Services – Improving Certainty with Respect to Drinking Water’ UNCTAD's Multi-Year Expert Meeting on Trade, Services and Development, (Geneva May 2018)
  • ‘Green Water: Can Rio+20 succeed where others have failed?’, presented at the10th Annual Colloquium of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, Global Environmental Law at the Crossroads, University of Maryland, 1-5 July, 2012.
  • ‘Refocusing on the Watershed: Integrating an Ecosystem Approach within Water Supply and Access Arrangements’, presented at Rule of Law for Nature, University of Oslo, 9-11 May, 2012.
  • ‘Water Rights: Quantifiable Needs and Ecological Limits’, presented at the Human Rights Centre Inaugural Seminar, Brunel University, 13 December 2011.
  • ‘The Right to Water: Can a Fragmented Approach Achieve Universal Outcomes?’, presented at Law in Fragments Conference, Cambridge University, 14-15 April 2011.
  • ‘Managing Water Supply and Water Stress in the Face of Climate Change’, presented at the 8th Annual Colloquium of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, Linkages between Biodiversity and Climate Change, Ghent University, 13-17 September 2010.
  • The Great Southern Holiday – How should we Regulate the Antarctic Tourism Industry’, presented at the7th Annual Colloquium of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, Environmental Governance and Sustainability, Wuhan 1-5 November 2009.


Dr Bates welcomes proposals for postgraduate supervision in the field of International Environmental Law.

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