Dr Stephen Turner

Senior Lecturer
Essex Law School
Dr Stephen Turner
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 874452

  • Location

    4SB.6.15, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    Wednesdays 4-5pm



Dr Stephen Turner began working at Essex Law School in 2019. He has research interests in international environmental law, global environmental governance, climate change and corporate responsibility. In particular his work has taken a 'rights-based' perspective to clarify now the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment can be framed, developed and put into practice. He has written two books that focus on 'rights-based' approaches approaches to environmental governance: 'A Substantive Environmental Right' (Kluwer Law International, 2009) and 'A Global Environmental Right' (Earthscan /Routledge, 2014). Dr Turner's work on global environmental governance spans back over 20 years and has resulted in the development of 'macro legal analysis' as a methodological approach . This form of legal analysis addresses the different frameworks of law that can affect decision-making relating to the environment to consider their individual impacts but crucially also to analyse how they interact and relate to each other. This can mean analysing international environmental law in conjunction with international corporate law, international trade law, international investment law, international insurance law and the law relating to financial and banking institutions. This type of 'macro' legal analysis demonstrates how discrete frameworks of law can reinforce or compete with each in terms of the objectives that they are designed to achieve. This approach has assisted in the development of reform options for the international community which look beyond individual legal disciplines with a view to streamlining legal and economic frameworks to ensure that they guarantee specific outcomes that are consistent with the goals that the international community seeks to achieve within the 21st century. Between 2015 and 2018, Stephen was the lead editor in the 'Standards in Environmental Rights Project' which included the involvement of 22 lawyers from around the globe and which resulted in the publication of 'Environmental Rights - The Development of Standards' by Cambridge University Press in 2019. He has spoken widely on the subject of environmental governance at numerous venues including the United Nations Environment Programme (Nairobi), the World Bank (Washington D.C.) and leading universities internationally. He has also been consulted by the World Health Organisation and has played an active role in the consultation processes associated with the mandates of successive UN Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights and the Environment. Stephen wrote his PhD thesis on the relationship between human rights and the environment. His thesis approached the subject from the perspective of business and industry by considering the responsibilities of corporations, multilateral development banks and the WTO, as well as States. The thesis included a case study of the Camisea Natural Gas Extraction Project in the Peruvian Amazon, and an analysis of the consultation processes carried out by the companies involved, with a focus on the effects of the project on the indigenous communities in the area. More recently Stephen has carried out empirical research relating to the duties that directors have under company law with regard to the environment, human rights and other stakeholders. In particular this research has focused on the decision-making processes of boards of directors and the relationship this has with policy choices for reform in the field of corporate responsibility. Stephen has also been successful in being awarded funding for a number of the projects that he has worked on including GCRF funding for a project to research participatory rights in Bhutan, Eastern Arc funding to conduct interdisciplinary research relating to human rights and the environment, and also commercial funding for specific conferences and workshops. In 2007 Stephen represented opponents to the installation of a mobile telephone mast at a Consistory Court (2006) and the Court of Arches (2007). (Party Opponent v Chingford St. Peter and St. Paul [2007] 1 Fam 67, Court of Arches). He became a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 1995 and that year coordinated a research project related to the indigenous rights of the Sami people in northern Scandinavia. During the 1990s, Stephen worked in the field of criminal defence litigation and subsequently co-founded IPSA, a business partnership which provided legal advice on behalf of firms of solicitors. Between 1989-91 Stephen worked as a contracts executive at British Aerospace (Commercial Aircraft) Ltd. He was involved in the administration of the return of leased aircraft and the administrative preparation of aircraft prior to the completion of lease and sales contracts. Stephen is a Fellow of the Higher Education Authority and is interested in approaches for PhD supervision from those with proposals relating to international environmental law, global environmental governance, human rights and the environment, and corporate responsibility.


  • PhD London University (Queen Mary), (2007)

  • LLM London University (SOAS), (2002)

  • LLB (Hons) The Polytechnic of Wales, (1987)


University of Essex

  • Co-Director of Post-Graduate Education, Law School, Essex University (1/9/2019 - present)

Other academic

  • Senior Lecturer, Law School, Lincoln University (1/9/2014 - 30/8/2019)

  • Senior Lecturer, Law School, Kingston University (1/9/2011 - 30/8/2014)

  • Senior Lecturer, Law School, Winchester University (1/9/2010 - 30/6/2011)

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Global Environmental Governance

Open to supervise

Human Rights and the Environment

Open to supervise

International Environmental Law

Open to supervise

Corporate Responsibility

Open to supervise

International Trade / Investment and the Environment

Climate Change Law

Open to supervise

Banking / Finance / Insurance and the Environment

Constitutional Environmental Rights

Open to supervise

Conferences and presentations


Human Rights and Climate Change Symposium (University of Essex), School of Law and Human Rights Centre, Colchester, United Kingdom, 9/6/2021

How Does the Historical Development of Corporate Law Interact With Contemporary approaches to Business and Human Rights

Invited presentation, Webinar on Corporate Due Diligence in Contract and Company Law (Nova University - Centre of Business and Human Rights), Nova Centre for Business and Human Rights, Lisbon, Portugal, 25/3/2021

Strengthening Bhutan's Environmental Law Pillars through the Environmental Rule of Law

Invited presentation, GNH and Law Conference (JSW Law School), Thimpu, Bhutan, 13/11/2020

Climate Change and the World Health Organisation

Invited presentation, Human Rights and Climate Change: From Conceptual to Practical Aspects (Law School - University of Essex), Colchester, United Kingdom, 1/5/2020

Developing Standards in the Field of Environmental Human Rights

Invited presentation, Human Rights in the Anthropocene (Raoul Wallenberg Institute), Human Rights in the Anthropocene Roundtable, Lund, Sweden, 18/10/2019

Human Rights and Climate Change

Invited presentation, BHR Scholars Association Conference (University of Essex), Colchester, United Kingdom, 12/9/2019

Standards in the field of Environmental Rights

Invited presentation, World Bank Environmental Law Seminar Series (World Bank, Washington D.C.), Washington D.C., United States, 17/7/2019

Standards in Environmental Rights - The Role of Science

Invited presentation, IUCN Conference: The Transformation of Environmental Law and Governance (University of Strathclyde), Glasgow, United Kingdom, 7/7/2018

The Role of Science in the field of Environmental Rights

Seminar Series (University of Aveiro), Aveiro, Portugal, 7/9/2017

The Anthropocene and the 'Tragedy of the Environmental Lawyer'

Invited presentation, Revisionist Ontologies for Law and Human Rights in the Anthropocene (University of Strathclyde), Glasgow, United Kingdom, 28/10/2016

The Development of Energy Supplies for Rural Poor in Ghana

Invited presentation, Improving Energy Access to Rural and Urban Poor in Southern Africa: The Role of Law and Legal Policy (University of Essex), Colchester, United Kingdom, 5/7/2016

The Use of 'Macro' Legal Analysis in the Development of Global Environmental Governance

Invited presentation, University of Hull Law School Seminar Series, Hull, United Kingdom, 30/6/2016

Global Environmental Governance

Invited presentation, UNEP Global Environmental Governance Meeting (UNEP, Nairobi), Nairobi, Kenya, 8/6/2016

The Constitutions of Bhutan and Kenya

Invited presentation, Standards in Environmental Rights Symposium (Lincoln Law School), Lincoln, United Kingdom, 10/5/2016

The cases of Bhutan and Kenya in developing Constitutional Standards of Environmental Protection

Invited presentation, UNEP - New Frontiers in Environmental Rights (North-West University, South Africa), Potchefstroom, South Africa, 16/4/2016

Human Rights and the Environment

Invited presentation, Guest Lecture (University of Coimbra), Coimbra, Portugal, 1/4/2016

Issues in the Development of a Global Substantive Environmental Right

Invited presentation, GNHRE - Human Rights and the Environment: In Search of a New Relationship, Onati, Spain, 15/6/2015

Water Ecosystem Services: The Interface with Human Rights

Invited presentation, XV World Water Congress (Edinburgh), United Kingdom, 28/5/2015

Addressing the 'drivers' and 'root causes' of environmental and human rights harm within corporate law: a global approach

Invited presentation, SLSA Conference (Warwick University), SLSA, Coventry, United Kingdom, 2/4/2015

Corporate Law, Human Rights and Climate Change

Invited presentation, UNITAR-YALE Conference on Environmental Governance and Democracy (Yale University), New Haven, United States, 7/9/2014

The Case for a Global Environmental Right

Invited presentation, Bristol University Law School Seminar Series, School of Law, Bristol, United Kingdom, 5/3/2014

A Global Environmental Right?

Invited presentation, Greenwich University Seminar Series, London, United Kingdom, 12/2/2014

Human Rights Aspects of Climate Change

Invited presentation, YALE / UNITAR Rights, Governance and Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 19 Workshop), Law School, Warsaw, Poland, 16/11/2013

Human Rights, Global Governance and Climate Change

Climate Change Governance Conference (Kingston University and Schroders plc), London, United Kingdom, 27/6/2013

Should there be a Universally Recognised Human Right to a Good, Clean, Healthy Environment?

Invited presentation, Surrey University Law School Seminar Series, Law School, Guildford, United Kingdom, 31/1/2008

The Legal Responsibility of Directors to Act in the Best Interests of the Company?

Business and Human Rights in Conflict (UEL), The Centre for Human Rights in Conflict, London, United Kingdom, 14/6/2007

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • International Environmental Law (LW356)

  • Dissertation (LW600)

  • Dissertation (LW900)

  • Human Rights, Development and the Environment (LW915)

  • International Environmental Law and Sustainability (LW928)

  • Dissertation (LW985)

  • Law - Research (LW999)

  • The Current Issues in Social Science (SC340)

  • Human Rights - Research (HU999)


Turner, S., (2020). Practica Empresarial - Sobre o Equilibrio entre o Sucess o Empresarial e a Responsibilidade Ambiental e Social. Revista do Centro de Estudios de Direito do Ordenamento, Urbanismo e Ambiente. XXII (43), 27-40

Turner, S., (2017). The Use of 'Macro' Legal Analysis in the Understanding and Development of Global Environmental Governance. Transnational Environmental Law. 6 (2), 237-257

Turner, S., (2013). Factors in the Development of a Global Substantive Environmental Right. Onati Socio-Legal Series. 3 (5), 893-907

Turner, S., (2004). The Human Right to a Good Environment – The sword in the stone. Non-State Actors and International Law. 4 (3), 277-301

Books (3)

Turner, SJ., Shelton, DL., Razzaque, J., McIntyre, O. and May, JR., (2019). Environmental Rights The Development of Standards. Cambridge University Press. 1108482244. 9781108482240

Turner, S., (2013). A Global Environmental Right. Routledge. 1135090246. 9781135090241

Turner, SJ., (2009). A Substantive Environmental Right An Examination of the Legal Obligations of Decision-makers Towards the Environment. 9041128158. 9789041128157

Book chapters (7)

Turner, S., (2019). The Constitution of Bhutan - A Quantitative Environmental Standard. In: Environmental Rights - The Development of Standards. Editors: Turner, S., Shelton, D., May, J., McIntyre, O. and Razzaque, J., . Cambridge University Press. 323- 341. 9781108482240

Turner, S., (2019). Introduction: A Brief History of Environmental Rights and the Development of Standards. In: Environmental Rights - The Development of Standards. Editors: Turner, S., Shelton, D., Razzaque, J., McIntyre, O. and May, J., . Cambridge University Press

Turner, S. and Marrani, D., (2019). The French Charter of the Environment and Standards of Environmental Protection. In: Environmental Rights - The Development of Standards. Editors: Turner, S., Shelton, D., Razzaque, J., McIntyre, O. and May, J., . Cambridge University Press. 309- 322. 9781108612500

Turner, S., (2019). Conclusion: Analysing the Development of Standards in the Field of Environmental Rights. In: Environmental Rights - The Development of Standards. Editors: Turner, S., Shelton, D., Razzaque, J., McIntyre, O. and May, J., . Cambridge University Press. 383- 400. 9781108612500

Turner, S., (2019). Business Practices, Human Rights and the Environment. In: Human Rights and the Environment - Legality, Indivisibility, Dignity and Geography. Editors: James, M. and Daly, E., . Edward Elgar. 9781788111454

Turner, S., (2017). Quantitative Standards within the Environmental Provisions of National Constitutions - Bhutan and Kenya. In: New Frontiers in Global Environmental Constitutionalism. Editors: Daly, E., Kotze, L., May, J., Soyapi, C., Kreilhuber, A., Ognibene, L. and Kariuki, A., . United Nations Environment Programme. 212- 212. 9280737600

Turner, S., (2015). The Interface between Human Rights and Ecosystem Services. In: Water Ecosystem Services. Editors: Martin-Ortega, J., Ferrier, R., Gordon, I. and Khan, S., . Cambridge University Press. 163- 169. 9781316178904

Conferences (2)

Turner, S., A Reformed Global Legal Architecture for Corporate Responsibility (UNITAR / Yale University 2014)

Turner, S., A Rights-Based Approach to Climate Change Governance (UNITAR / Yale University 2014)

+44 (0) 1206 874452


4SB.6.15, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

Wednesdays 4-5pm

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