Professor Roy Partain

Professor Roy Partain
Ph.D. Law (Erasmus Rotterdam), J.D. (Vanderbilt), M.Sc. (UNC-Chapel Hill), M.Sc. (Georgia Inst. of Technology), B.Sc. (Georgia Inst. of Technology), Member of the State Bar of Texas

Personal Chair

Professor Roy Partain
Professor Roy Partain

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 273707
The University of Aberdeen Office #D50
Taylor Building
School of Law

Prof Dr Partain's research at Google Scholar

Prof Dr Partain's ORCID Page

Prof Dr Partain's Books:


Prof Dr Roy A. Partain is a Chair Professor of International and Comparative Law, with a research focus on EU Sustainable Development Law and its global applications and impacts.  

Prof Partain holds a portfolio of leadership and executive positions within our School of Law:

  • Member of the School of Law's Executive Committee;
  • Academic Line Manager (Snr Assoc Dean for Faculty) for team of law faculty members;
  • Director of Aberdeen's PhD in Law Programme, serving as our PostGraduate Officer;
  • Director of Internationalization and Strategic Partnerships;
  • Co-Director of Research Centre for Commercial Law;
  • Director of LLM programs focusing on International Commercial Law and in Sustainable Development; and
  • He created and now serves as the inaugural Director for our LLB Law with Computing Science.

Recognizing the requirements from the EU's Treaty on European Union (e.g., TEU Art 3.3,  3.5, and 21.2(d),(e), (f), and (g)) and its Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (e.g., TFEU Art 11, 13, and 191-194) to promote the achievement of Sustainable Development on a Global Basis, his legal research seeks to improve the design of International Commercial Law to better coordinate it with the goals of Sustainable Development and International Environmental Law while also furthering the EU's goals for economic development via integrated markets. His research methodology draws on tools from law and economics, game theory, social choice theory, and comparative law. 

Prof Partain is also a member of the Ius Commune Research School and has a seat on its Committee for Transnational Environmental Law. He remains affiliated with the Rotterdam Institute for Law & Economics (RILE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam, where he earned his PhD in Law, and the Institute for Transnational Legal Research (METRO) at Maastricht University. He routinely engages with the Korean Legislative Research Institute and has previously advised the Korean Ministry of Environment on the impact of free trade agreements on domestic environmental laws and worked with the Korean Ministry of Industry to establish a MSc program in ‘Climate Change Policy and Legislation’ for mid-career students drawn from industry. 

He has been a residential Visiting Professor at Wuhan University (China) in 2018 and at Kobe University (Japan) in 2018 and 2019. He will be a residential Visiting Professor at Hiroshima University (Japan) in 2020. 

Prof Partain's publications have included books at first tier publishing houses and many articles and chapters published across East Asia, Europe, and the United States. 


Research Interests

Recent Projects Include:

  • Recognizing the role of 'mobility' within legal pluralism and how that can enhance our ability to preserve international human rights;
  • International frameworks to ensure corporations are responsible/liable for the their public statements  on sustainable development and corporate social responsibility, especially with regards to their communications to shareholders, governmental authorities, and international NGOs;
  • Development and critique of international energy policies to prevent cross-border carbon leakages and other 'green paradoxes';
  • Investigating how implementation of multi-national free trade agreements affect domestic environmental legislation;
  • Revealing how the implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification could be accellerated by recent technological breakthroughs in offshore hydrate resources;
  • Developing international legal frameworks to enable carbon storage to be undertaken at the least risk possible, to better prevent global climate change;
  • Developing international legal frameworks to prevent transboundary environmental harms from the extraction of offshore methane hydrates;
  • Using international and comparative law to create a more functional and equitable legal definition of 'family' and of 'marriage, to support a wide range of emerging social needs; and
  • Research into new and novel technologies as they impact the potential of Global Sustainable Development

Teaching Responsibilities

Courses and Seminars

Dr. Partain teaches a range of international law courses; topics include Comparative Law, Corporate Environmental Liability, International Public Law, International Environmental Law, International Energy Law,  Law of the Seas, Law & Innovation, and Law & Economics.

He also teaches in multi-disciplinary settings, such as in the Law & Society courses, where he team teaches on the Law of the Seas with professors from drawn from scientific departments. 

Examples of Undergraduate Courses & Seminars at Aberdeen:

  • SX1003 Oceans & Society
  • LS1026 Cases on Law & Society
  • LS2032 Public International Law
  • LS 2536 Introduction to Comparative Law 
  • LS3530 (International) Energy Law 

Examples of Postgraduate Courses & Seminars at Aberdeen:

  • LS501C International Energy & Environmental Law
  • LS501F Energy, Innovation, & Law
  • LS501T Critical Legal Thinking and Scholarship
  • LS501V Applied Advocacy
  • LS502K Comparative Contract Law for International Transactions
  • LS551J Low Carbon Energy Transition: Nuclear Energy and Carbon Capture Storage
  • LS551L Corporate Environmental Liability
  • LS551T Critical Legal Thinking and Scholarship
  • LS551U Legal and Environmental Issues for Unconventional Hydrocarbon
  • LS552N Commercial Tax Law and Policy 
  • LS5904 Dissertation (For LLM Students) 

Examples of Undergraduate Courses and Lectures delivered Overseas:

  • Introduction to Anglo-American Common Law
  • International Commercial Law 
  • Comparative Constitutional Law  
  • Comparative Contract Law 
  • Corporate Law 
  • European Union Law
  • History of Western Law 
  • International Private Law
  • Legal Research and Writing 
  • Litigation Practicum
  • Comparative Tort Law

Examples of Postgraduate Courses & Lectures delivered Overseas:

  • (Comparative) Asian Law
  • (Comparative) Tort Law
  • Corporate Environmental Liability
  • International Business Transactions
  • International Corporate Litigation
  • International Law and the Challenge of Offshore Methane Hydrates


Ph. D. Supervision

Dr. Partain supervises research students working in the following areas: Law & Economics, Comparative Law, Regulatory Theory, International Trade Law, International Environmental Law, International Energy Law, and related topics.

He is proud to be an Adviser to the following doctoral students:

  • Nyingi Bonnie: Interpreting Nigerian Environmental Rules with Context from the Ijon Culture
  • Suchanun Hunsa-Udom: The Tragedy of Common Heritage: Environmental Conservation and the Exploitation of the Resources of the Deep Seabed
  • Iman MulyanaLegal Rules for Energy Efficiency in Urban Indonesia
  • Aleesandro Negri: International Legal Considerations Small-Medium Nuclear Reactors: Both Fission and Fusion based reactors
  • Gianmarco Nitti: Post – Sustainable Development - Translating the Theory of Degrowth into Law: a legal-economic analysis of the role of law in shaping a degrowth-economy
  • Hakeem Adamu Tahiru: Enforcement and compliance challenges of local content legislations governing oil and gas industries in sub-sahara agrican countries: comparative studyof Angola, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda

He gladly honors his previous students who successfully passed their viva exams and graduated with their PhDs:

  • Marianthi Pappa: The 'Butterfly Effect' in Maritime Boundary Dispute Resolution
  • Ngozi Chinwa Ole: The role of law in improving access to electricity through community based renewable energy projects in Nigeria
  • Dennis Otiotio: Regulatory Approaches to Flaring in Nigeria



Further Info

Admin Responsibilities

  • Academic Line Manager
  • Coordinator of International Commercial Law LL.M. Programs
    • Research driven: LL.M. International Commercial Law with Dissertation
    • Experiential learning: LL.M. International Commercial Law with Professional Skills
  • Dean of Chinese Affairs for the School of Law
  • Member on School of Law’s Athena Swan SAT Committee; Committee advances the University’s commitment to the advancement of gender equality in academia, addressing unequal gender representation across academic disciplines, professional and support functions and removing the obstacles faced by women;
  • Dissertation Adviser for multiple Ph.D. students;
  • Post-Graduate Research Committee (Oversight of Ph.D. program and students);
  • Member of Aberdeen University Centre for Energy Law;
  • LL.M. Admissions Committee;
  • Undergraduate Student Mentor;
  • Faculty adviser for Aberdeen’s Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition Team.