For a Living Planet - Meet our Team of Legal Specialists
Susan D. Shaw LLM, LLB(Hons), DipLP, NP
Susan founded Living Law in 2013 and has a real passion for the goals of sustainable development and making the law more broadly accessible across societies, in line with the UNECE Aarhus Convention and broader agendas of democracy, transparency and accountability. She specialises primarily in international law in the field of the environment, public law, energy law and human rights. She is a member of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, a participant in the UN Harmony with Nature initiative (Expert, Earth Jurisprudence), as well as an observer to the UN Minamata Convention on Mercury. She is active in promoting debate about the shifts needed to Earth-Law and jurisprudence in the coming years given the ecological crisis facing the planet.
"Having access to high-quality legal advice should be available to all members of society as a basic right. As a first-generation lawyer, I strive to break down cultural barriers to accessing the law and to build a broader understanding of the added value that a critical legal perspective can bring to policy and other campaigning debates.
The challenges humanity face in the Anthropocene are unprecedented and there is now a growing understanding at an international level that environmental rights and human rights are two sides of the same coin. Key environmental challenges, such as water scarcity, biodiversity loss and climate change are already having profound impacts across all sectors of our economies and societies that cannot be ignored any longer. But they also create real opportunities for those who wish to make positive changes. I believe that the Environmental Rule of Law and Environmental Democracy are central to our ability to bend the curve to societies within Planetary Boundaries. It is a privilege to work in a field that I believe in - and to come into contact with dedicated campaigners and others who strive to develop solutions in the wider public interest.
Establishing Living Law has given me the freedom to develop innovative and specialist approaches to the delivery of Legal Services - for a living planet and present and future generations. I enjoy bringing my international academic training and experience of working with global actors and a multi-level governance perspective to analyse issues. Very often, these considerations illustrate the rights-based optics involved in policy and administrative decision-making today."