Elizabeth Kirk joined the then Department of Law in Dundee in 1995 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2003. Prior to that she qualified as a solicitor in Scotland and worked as a Research Associate at the University of British Columbia.
Elizabeth’s research focuses on adaptability within legal regimes, in particular the ability of regimes to respond to changing circumstances, scientific understanding or actors. Her work, which has been supported by a number of research grants from the AHRC, British Academy, ESRC, Royal Society of Edinburgh and Society of Legal Scholars spans both the international law of marine governance (and marine resources) and domestic environmental law. It demonstrates that traditional theoretical distinctions between national and international law are irrelevant in explaining the production of normativity (that is, the processes by which individuals come to regard rules as binding). Instead the key to normativity (and hence compliance) lies in the role played by a variety of actors in shaping the development of legal norms, through formal participation in legislative decision-making, direct and indirect lobbying, the linking of disparate legal regimes and the creation of new cultural norms, which influence the development of legal norms.
In 2013 Elizabeth was awarded an EU grant to employ Dr Nengye Liu as a Marie Curie Intra-European Research Fellow for two years on the European Union and the Law on the Protection of Marine Biodiversity in the Arctic (Euro-Arctic LaB) project. This project will establish what powers the European Union has to pursue its stated objective of protecting marine biological diversity in the Arctic. The project will establish how the European Union can best use these powers to help generate an effective legal system for the protection of that marine biological diversity.
Elizabeth is the Western Europe representative on the Governing Board of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law and co-editor of the Academy’s journal – “The eJournal”. She sits on the Managing Board of the European Environmental Law Forum and is a member of the IUCN/CEL Specialist Group on Ocean Law and of several professional bodies.
Elizabeth is also experienced in delivering advice to intergovernmental, non-governmental and governmental bodies which draws upon her academic expertise.