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University College London Featured PhD Programmes
University College London Featured PhD Programmes
University College London Featured PhD Programmes

Environmental Justice in China: An empirical study on the roles of lawyers (RDF20/BL/LAW/SHEN)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 24, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Environment justice is a global issue that has been dominating news around the world and the international political agenda for some time. It thus draws attention of researchers from a wide range of disciplines. Nonetheless, environmental justice research remains active largely in Western, post-industrial states, and relatively little has been done (with the notable exception of Gita Gill’s study of India) in non-Western territories or fast-developing countries which are often criticised for the ‘environmental fallout’ from their economic development. China is one of those countries that are undergoing rapid industrialisation while at the same time experiencing environmental pollution crisis. In 2015 China created a new law and has introduced other measures to balance economic growth, social stability and environmental protection. However, limited is known about the country’s environmental justice practices.

The proposed study will focus on environmental justice in China through an inquiry into the roles of legal professionals in environmental protection. It will be empirically based, seeking to gain primary and secondary knowledge about the roles that lawyers play in the Chinese environmental justice system. In doing so, it will examine the existing legal framework that aims to guarantee the protection of environment and the health and property of individual citizens. Most importantly, it will examine how these laws and policies are implemented. It will therefore explore, from the perspective of legal professionals, the efforts, achievements, gaps and obstacles in environmental governance in one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Along with environmental challenges, it will discuss broader legal and social issues in the Chinese context. Accordingly, it will be a multidisciplinary study that requires engagement with literature in law, jurisprudence, economics, social justice and social policy to advance global environmental justice scholarship and practice.

Eligibility and How to Apply

Please note eligibility requirement:

- Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
- Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
- Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see:

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF20/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 24 January 2020.

Start Date: 1 October 2020.

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Students Worldwide where a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2019/20, this is £15,009 pa) and full fees.


Shen, A. 2018. Internal Migration, Crime and Punishment in Contemporary China: An inquiry into rural migrant offenders. New York: Springer.

Shen, Anqi. 2017. Women Judges in Contemporary China: Gender and judging. London: Palgrave.

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