School of Law Coffee Time with Professor Abbe Brown

School of Law Coffee Time with Professor Abbe Brown
2022-01-26

Welcome to our newest series of blogs which focus on the many people at our School of Law. Grab a cup of coffee and get to know some of your future lecturers starting with Professor Abbe Brown. Enjoy!

Q: What drew you to the discipline of law?

AB: I have always been fascinated by the balance between certainty and creativity, I think it suits the way my brain works.  At school I enjoyed all subjects particularly History and Chemistry. I enjoy establishing the present position and then working out how it can be viewed in a different way and how it could be changed

Q: How did you become interested in your area of research?

AB: I studied intellectual property law in my degree. It ranges from protection of the Coca-Cola bottle to access to COVID vaccines. I was again really interested in the mix of the arts and science and the balance between economic incentives and immediately addressing fundamental problems.

Q: Who do you admire in your field of research? (Could be Law more widely)

AB: Charlotte Waelde. Angela Daly. Hector MacQueen.  Elisa Morgera. Susy Frankel. Baroness Hale. Philippe Sands. 

Q: Would you share some insights into your current research and what makes it so important?

AB: A constant theme is how to balance the benefits which I believe can arise from the private power conferred by intellectual property rights with the implications for real live situations and also other areas of law.  I do not think it is enough to say IP rights encourage innovation and so we have to accept that not everyone will get the drugs or wind technology immediately; I also do not think it is enough to say “oh climate change or human rights law deals with that” – particularly as structural and governance imbalances mean that they don’t really – or in a very different way. 

Q: What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?

AB: Freedom to explore what interests me and to learn from others; teaching and learning from students and colleagues; ongoing engagement with the legal profession  

Q: What achievement are you most proud of?

AB: Trying to bridge the divide between academia, the legal profession, other disciplines, policy making and publics through my work on climate change and marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdictions, which includes working with IUCN and DOSI in international negotiations, membership of the Law Society of Scotland COP26 and Climate Change working group and going to COP,  and the Song of the Ocean.   

Q: What do you love doing in your spare time?

AB: Seeing family and friends, tennis, exercise, reading. 

Q: What 3 things would we be surprised to learn about you?

AB: Inspired by my Ocean work, I am a qualified diver. My happy places are Melbourne in Australia and Oban on the West Coast of Scotland. I really loved being a practising lawyer for 10 years and worked in London, Melbourne and Edinburgh.  

Published by School of Law, University of Aberdeen

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