Louis Kotzé

Prof. Dr. Dr. Louis Kotzé

Klaus Töpfer Sustainability Fellow

Louis Kotzé is Research Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law, North-West University, SA, and Senior Professorial Fellow in Earth System Law at the University of Lincoln, UK. His research focuses on human rights, socio-ecological justice and environmental constitutionalism; law and the Anthropocene; and Earth system law. He has over 170 publications on these themes. Recent books include: Global Environmental Constitutionalism in the Anthropocene (2016); Environmental Law and Governance for the Anthropocene (2017); Sustainable Development Goals: Law, Theory and Implementation (2018); Research Handbook on Law, Governance and Planetary Boundaries (2021). He is assistant editor of the journal Earth System Governance; a Senior Fellow of the Earth System Governance Network; member of its Scientific Steering Committee; and co-convenor of the Network's Taskforce on Earth System Law. In 2016 he obtained a second PhD at Tilburg University, Netherlands. He is the recipient of several research awards including from: the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the German Exchange Service; the Austrian Exchange Service, and the SA National Research Foundation. In 2018 he was awarded a European Commission Horizon 2020 Marie Curie Fellowship to lead a project at the University of Lincoln titled: Global Ecological Custodianship-Innovative International Environmental Law for the Anthropocene. He currently is the Klaus Töpfer Sustainability Fellow at IASS and works on the theme Earth System Law for the Anthropocene.

  • Earth system law
  • Law and the Anthropocene
  • Constitutional environmental law

Publications at the IASS

Publications prior to joining the IASS

  • Kotzé LJ, Kim R, Blanchard C, Biermann F, Gellers J, Holley C, Hurlbert M, Petersmann M, Van Asselt H "Earth System Law: Exploring New Frontiers in Legal Science" 2022(11) Earth System Governance 100126, 1-9
  • Kotzé LJ "Neubauer et al versus Germany: Planetary Climate Litigation for the Anthropocene?" 2021(22) German Law Journal (2021) 1423-1444
  • French D and Kotzé LJ (eds) Research Handbook on Law, Governance and Planetary Boundaries (Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 2021) 1-416
  • Kotzé LJ and Kim R "Earth System Law: The Juridical Dimensions of Earth System Governance" 2019 Earth System Governance 1-12
  • Kotzé LJ "Reflections on the Future of Environmental Law Scholarship and Methodology in the Anthropocene" in Pedersen O (ed) The Future of Environmental Law Scholarship: Essays on Purpose, Shape and Direction (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2018) 140-161
  • French D and Kotzé LJ (eds) Sustainable Development Goals: Law, Theory and Implementation (Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 2018) 1-328
  • Kotzé LJ (ed) Environmental Law and Governance for the Anthropocene (Hart/Bloomsbury, Oxford, 2017) 1-379
  • Kotzé LJ. Global Environmental Constitutionalism in the Anthropocene (Hart/Bloomsbury, Oxford, 2016) 1-272
  • Grear A and Kotzé LJ (eds) Research Handbook on Human Rights and the Environment (Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 2015) 1-572
  • Kotzé LJ. Global Environmental Governance: Law and Regulation for the 21st Century. (Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 2012) 1-412
  • Kotzé LJ What is the Role of Human Rights in a Fair Transition to a Green and Digital Economy? Invited panellist, shared with Prof. Philip Alston, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty, for the online symposium on Human Rights in Transition, Lund, Sweden, October 2021
  • Kotzé LJ The Role of Law in the Anthropocene. Invited panellist, shared with Prof. Will Steffen, for The Stockholm +49 Summit: Make 2022 a Game Changer, October 2021
  • Kotzé LJ Climate Litigation and Politics. Invited expert panellist for the virtual symposium: Our Future in the Balance- The Role of Courts and Tribunals in Meeting the Climate Crisis, Washington D.C, United States, July 2021
  • Kotzé LJ Environmental Law and its Structural Complicity in the Anthropocene's Climate Injustices. Invited global expert to present virtual lecture in the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, The Anthropocene Lectures Series, India, March 2021
  • Kotzé LJ Peace in the Anthropocene: Exploring the Potential of the Principle of Earth System Vulnerability. Invited panellist for plenary session "New Climate Peace Regime" in the virtual PeyongChang Peace Forum 2021, Republic of Korea, February 2021
  • Kotzé LJ Earth System Law for the Anthropocene. Keynote presented at Facing the Anthropocene in Latin America-Stories, Agencies and Institutions, University of London, United Kingdom, November 2020
  • Kotzé LJ Earth System Law for the Anthropocene. Keynote presented at the annual Environmental Law Association of South Africa Conference, South Africa, July 2020
  • Kotzé LJ International Environmental Law and the Anthropocene's Energy Dilemma. Invited guest lecture presented at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany, December 2019
  • Kotzé LJ International Environmental Law's Lack of Normative Ambition: An Opportunity for the Global Pact for the Environment? Keynote presented at the 1st International Colloquium on Ecological Law and the Anthropocene, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil, November 2019
  • Kotzé LJ Global Perspectives on Environmental Constitutionalism. Invited global expert panellist, Judicial Colloquium on the Role of the Judiciary in Promoting the Rule of Law, United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, February 2019
  • Klaus Töpfer Sustainability Fellow, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam, Germany 2022
  • Marie Curie Skłodowska Horizon 2020 Research Fellow, University of Lincoln, United Kingdom (January 2018-December 2019)
  • Parsons International Visiting Scholar, University of Sydney, Australia (November 2018)
  • Ernst Mach Research Fellow, Austrian Exchange Service (ÖAD), University of Vienna, Austria (September 2018)
  • Research Fellow, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam, Germany (May 2018)
  • Senior Research Fellow, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg, Germany (July 2017-September 2017)
  • Erasmus Mundus Euro/South Africa Research Fellow, Tilburg University, The Netherlands (2016)
  • Global Environmental Constitutionalism Scholar in Residence, Widener Law School, University of Delaware, United States (March-May 2015)
  • Senior Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg, Germany (October 2010-January 2012)
  • Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Austrian Academic Exchange Service (ÖAD), University of Salzburg, Austria (October 2007-January 2008)
  • South African National Research Foundation Rating Category B1: "All reviewers are firmly convinced that the applicant enjoys considerable international recognition for the high quality and impact of his recent research outputs, with some of them indicating that he is a leading international scholar in the field." (January 2018-present)
  • North-West University, South Africa, Vice-Chancellor Research Excellence Award for Leadership in International Research and Advisory Organizations (2018)
  • North-West University, South Africa, Vice-Rector Strategic Funding Award for Research Excellence (2015, 2016)
  • Elsevier Young Scientist Award for Contribution to Science (2012)
  • South African National Research Foundation Rating Category P: "Researchers in this group are recognised by all or the overriding majority of reviewers as having demonstrated the potential of becoming future international leaders in their field on the basis of exceptional research performance and output from their doctoral and/or early post-doctoral research careers." (January 2012-December 2017)
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Academy of Environmental Law International Junior Researcher of the Year Award (2011)
  • Invited as Member of the Planet Politics Institute, Australia (2020-present)
  • Elected as Senior Fellow of the Earth System Governance Network (2020-present)
  • Elected as member of the South African Academy of Science (2019-present)
  • Invited as Senior Fellow of the Sustainability College Bruges, Leuven, Belgium (2017-present)
  • Co-convenor of the Earth System Governance Network’s Task Force on Earth System Law (2017-present)
  • Member of the International Law Association’s (ILA) International Committee on the Role of International Law in Sustainable Natural Resource Management (2013-present)
  • Elected as Member of the South African Young Academy of Science and its Executive Committee in 2017 (2012-2017)
  • Member of the Global Network for Human Rights and the Environment (2012-present)
  • Elected as Member of the Volkswagen Stiftung Global Young Faculty (2010)
  • Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Commission on Environmental Law, Specialist Group on Environmental Ethics (2008-present)
  • Member of the South African Branch of the International Law Association (ILA) (2007-present)
  • Member of the Research Committee of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Academy of Environmental Law (2007-2011)
  • Member of the Association of Environmental Law Lecturers from African Universities, and in 2009-2010 co-chair of its Research Committee (2006-2012)
  • Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Academy of Environmental Law (2004-present)
  • Member of the Global Ecological Integrity Group (2003-2018)
  • Invited to serve as Member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Earth System Governance Network (2021-present)
  • Invited to serve as Member of the Guidance Committee of the European Research Council (ERC) GLOBALGOALS Research Programme (principal researcher Prof. Dr Frank Biermann), Utrecht University, the Netherlands (2020-present)
  • Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Commission on Environmental Law (2006-present)
  • Member of the International Advisory Board of Review of European, Comparative and International Environmental Law (Wiley) (2019-present)
  • Member of the International Advisory Editorial Board of International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Academy of Environmental Law E-Journal (2015-present)
  • Member of the International Advisory Editorial Board of Transnational Environmental Law (Cambridge University Press) (2014-present)
  • Member of the International Advisory Editorial Board of Resource Management Theory and Practice (Thomson Reuters) (2013-present)
  • Member of the International Advisory Editorial Board of Tijdschrift voor Milieurecht (Journal of Environmental Law) (Wolters Kluwer) (2009-present)
  • Member of the International Advisory Editorial Board of Journal of Human Rights and the Environment (Edward Elgar) (2009-2012)
  • Member of the International Advisory Editorial Board of Direitos Fundamentais & Justica (Fundamental Rights and Justice Journal) of the Pontificia Universidade Catilica do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil (2007-present)