Remembering Our Academy Colleagues

1000013248It is with a heavy heart that we inform the Academy community of the death of Dr. Emily Webster. Most recently, Emily was employed at Cambridge University as an Assistant Professor in Environmental Law. She was also an Official Fellow of Queens’ College and Director of Studies in the Department of Land Economy. Previously, Emily completed her Masters in Transnational Law and PhD in Law at King’s College London. Her PhD was focused on the response of law to climate change. Alongside her PhD studies, Emily was a highly valued member of the teaching teams for tort and environmental law. 

Emily was an active and committed member of the environmental law academy, serving as a member of the Hughes Hall Centre for Climate Engagement, a Research Fellow for the Earth System Governance research project, and as a member of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law. Emily’s exceptional research and teaching contributions will serve as a lasting testament to her unwavering dedication to furthering our understanding of the law and its role in fostering a sustainable planet. 

Within the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, Emily was a regular attendee of Academy Colloquia, and will be remembered as a genuine and warm colleague who was always willing to exchange ideas and welcome new scholars. Colleagues able to spend time with her at the most recent Colloquium in Joensuu will recall her distinguished presentation on private law structures to address the planetary crisis, and shared dialogue over her planned future research. 

flower memorialIt is with tremendous sadness that we mourn the death of Associate Professor Anita Rønne who died on 13th December after a short illness.

Anita was employed at the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen from 1985 and was a highly respected and well liked member of the IUCN Academy. Her expertise in Energy law, Climate Change Law and International Environmental Law meant that her work intersected with the work of many of our members and she was a good friend and colleague to many more.

Anita had many collaborators in Denmark and more widely and participated in numerous international research collaborations on both conferences and publications. She was a prolific researcher including classics such as “Energy Law in Europe – National, EU and International Regulation” of which she was a co-editor.

The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law announces with profound sadness the passing of Judge Christopher Gregory Weeramantry, Fellow of the IUCN Academy.

Judge Weeramantry passed away peacefully on January 5, 2017 at the age of 90 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Following is a special tribute to Judge Weeramantry written by his former assistant, Dr. Nilupul Gunawardena Somathilaka from the Hague, The Netherlands.

Christopher Gregory Weeramantry


Each and every nation treasures a selected band of very special sons and daughters; the eminently gifted ones in any given domain of human endeavour. Christopher Gregory Weeramantry will certainly go down in history as one of the greatest sons of Sri Lanka and as a Global Citizen of the highest order.

The surname Weeramantry is spoken of with respect throughout the country: Judge Christopher Weeramantry’s father Gregory and his elder brother Lucian earned their spurs in national history, but Christopher was to reach well beyond the national compound. He made his name, and that of his beloved Sri Lanka echo worldwide. None perhaps of the eminent legal and social minds, Sri Lanka gave birth to, ever exerted such an impact on global thought as he did. For there was a personal element to it as well. By virtue of his gentle, mild personality, his irresistible charm - topped by that enchanting smile – Christopher Weeramantry, with enviable ease, laced together strings of friends and admirers worldwide.

By: Professor Nick Robinson

wolfgangOn January 6, 2017, a cold winter’s day in Germany, under clear blue sky with bright sunshine, Wolfgang E. Burhenne’s life ended. He died with his daughter Raphaella, and her family at home, peacefully, in Germany. His family plans a memorial celebration of the life and work of Wolfgang Burhenne in the coming months. The funeral was private, for the family.

Wolfgang Burhenne’s passion for inventing laws to protect all manner of flora and fauna is legendary. More than any other single individual, he conceived and nourished laws for nature conservation and environmental stewardship across the Earth. He was as much at home in the Alps of Austria or Bavaria as he was in East Africa or the Arabian Penisula. He loved la chasse and nourished care for wild animals. At the same time, he devoted his life to building what the world now accepts as sustainable development, helping people and nature to live together in greater harmony. He was as much at home in the hallways of the United Nations in New York or Geneva as he was in parliamentary offices across Germany, as he was in the mountains and forests.

It is with profound sadness that the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law announces the passing of Professor Vladimir Garcia Magalhães on July 30, 2014.   Professor Magalhaes suffered severe injuries from a car accident in June and succumbed to the injuries a few weeks later.

Professor Magalhães was a law professor at the Catholic University of Santos (UNISANTOS) in Brazil. He was a lawyer, biologist and environmental law professor who taught and researched in subjects such as ecology and the environment, genetic engineering, environmental law and the sea, biotechnology, biodiversity, international environmental law and property rights.

Professor Magalhães worked and served on the boards of various organizations in Brazil, including the Company of Technology of Environmental Sanitation of the State of São Paulo (CETESB), the State Program for Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biodiverisity (Probio/SP) of the Secretariat of Environment of the State of São Paulo, the Managing Council of the Sea APA of the Littoral Center of the State of São Paulo for Biennium 2013/2014, Surrounding the Transdisciplinaria Academy del (HEHITS UPON), the Institute of Green Planet and the Brazilian Institiute of Advocacia Publica (IBAP). He was one of the founding members of the Latin American Academy of Environmental Law (WINGED) and was President of the Association of the Professors of Environmental Law of Brazil (APRODAB).

Justice Antonio Benjamin of the National High Court of Brazil (STJ) stated that the passing of Vladimir was a major tragedy and a terrible loss to Brazilian Environmental Law. He also stated that we will all remember him for what he was: a great human being with a passion for Nature and Law.

A staunch supporter of the IUCN Academy, Professor Magalhães presented papers at many of the Academy’s previous colloquia and workshops. Earlier this year, Professor Magalhães was appointed to the Academy’s Research Committee. He was energetic and passionate about contributing to the work of this Committee and he had great ideas.   He will be greatly missed by many colleagues and friends in the environmental law community all over the world.