Professor Roy Partain
PhD in Law (Erasmus University), JD (Vanderbilt University), FLAS Fellowship, MSc Econ (UNC Chapel Hill), MSc Econ (GA Tech), BSc Econ (GA Tech), Member of State Bar of Texas
Professor Dr Roy Andrew Partain is the Chair in Mathematical Structures in Law. His research examines how mathematical patterns exist and operate within legal rules and legal institutions. His research finds new ways to apply mathematical methodologies, social science models, or techniques from computing science to illuminate legal research.
Major research projects included work on novel mathematical methods for analyzing legal institutions involved in responding to emerging pandemics, challenging the mathematical models underlying attacks on green energy policies, examining optimal governance for novel energy resources, advising on coordination of Free Trade Agreements with environmental policies, and research into innovative new frameworks for family law.
At the University of Aberdeen, Professor Partain has taught a very broad range of courses, that can be clustered into (i) Contracts, Commercial, and Tax Law, (ii) Energy, Environmental, and Climate Change Law, and (iii) courses based on Social Choice Theory, Law & Economics, and other mathematical topics in legal research.
Beyond ‘Math & Law’, Professor Partain retains a research focus on East Asian Law and Southeast Asian Law and has taught semester-long courses at Kobe University (Japan), Soongsil University (Korea), and Wuhan University (China), at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He has delivered special lectures to the law schools at Beijing Foreign Studies University (China), Chinese University of Finance & Economics (Beijing, China), the University of Diponegoro (Indonesia), Hiroshima University (Japan), Macquarie University (Australia), University of Padjadjaran (Indonesia), Shandong University (China), and at the University of Tokyo (Japan).
Professor Partain’s research has been financially supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), the Korea Legislation Research Institute (KLRI), the Korean Ministry of Environment, and by Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Memberships and Affiliations
- Internal Memberships
Professor Partain serves the School of Law:
- Director of Internationalization and Strategic Partnerships for the School of Law, focusing on funded international research projects
- Previously he served as:
- Academic Line Manager, similar in role to an Associate Dean of Faculty
- Director of the Research Centre for Commercial Law
- Director of the Postgraduate Research Program, overseeing all PhD in Law and LLM by Research students
Professor Partain is a member of:
- Aberdeen University Center for Energy Law (AUCEL), supporting research in emerging energy technologies and in strategic pathways for successful sustainable development
- Research Centre for Constitutional and Public Law (CCCPIL), supporting research into formal models of public law and public international law
- Research Committee for Space Law
- External Memberships
Professor Partain is currently serving as a Visiting Fellow at the British Institute for International and Comparative Law (BIICL).
He is a Funded Principal Investigator, underwritten by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and the United Kingdom Research & Innovation (UKRI).
He is a member of the Research School Ius Commune, officially accredited by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, wherein he is on the Committee for Transnational Environmental Law. The Ius Commune Research School examines the (im)possibility of harmonization or unification of the rules of law at international and European level.
Professor Partain is actively affiliated with the European Doctorate in Law & Economics at Erasmus University of Rotterdam, participating in a variety of their postgraduate training events.
Professor Partain is a Member of the State Bar of Texas.
Chair Professor Roy Andrew Partain (PhD Law, JD, MSc Institutional Econ, MSc Microeconomics) is a scholar of mathematical approaches to law. Professor Partain’s research program develops new methodologies for investigating the rational structure of law and enables functional analysis of draft and existing legislations or evolving case law.
Professor Partain’s research has been financially supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), the Korea Legislation Research Institute (KLRI), the Korean Ministry of Environment, and Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, and by the University of Aberdeen.
I am currently accepting PhDs in Law, Economics.
Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.
Professor Partain recently launched an innovative research project with researchers across Japan and the UK, to develop novel mathematical methods to investigate legal rules and institutions. Those tools will then be used to analyze Japan's pandemic policies and legal frameworks and to provide policy makers with options for reforming and enhancing policy efficacy before the next pandemic arrives. (See more here: University part of UK-Japanese research collaboration to address COVID-19 challenges)
Two COVID-related research grants worth £620,000 (USD $850,000) have just been awarded to the University of Aberdeen’s School of Law and its research partners of Kobe University’s Graduate School of Law and the British Institute for International and Comparative Law (BIICL). The funds from the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will award the University of Aberdeen with approx. £425,000 and Kobe University with approx. ¥30,000,000. The grants run for three years, from December 2021 till February 2025.
The funds are in support of the JSPS and UKRI recent call for ‘Addressing COVID-19 Challenges with Japanese Researchers’. The research project proposes to examine how aspects of Japanese private law, commercial law, and intellectual property law might be reformed to better enable a rapid policy response in the face of an emerging pandemic. The research team includes 17 legal scholars from the University of Aberdeen, BIICL, Kobe University, Hokkaido University, Nihon University, and Tokai University, making this one of the broadest UK-Japan legal research projects in recent history.
Professor Roy Andrew PARTAIN will serve as the PI for all UK-based team members and Professor Takeshi MAEDA will serve as the PI for all Japan-based team members.
Aberdeen’s team members include Professor Roy Andrew PARTAIN, Professor Greg GORDON, Professor Abbe BROWN, and Dr Titilayo ADEBOLA. Dr Constantinos YIALLOURIDES joins via BIICL and Ms Hikari SAITO joins via Kobe University. Professor Spyros MANIATIS, Professor Duncan FAIRGRIEVE, and Dr Constantinos YIALLOURIDES are on BIICL’s team of researchers.
Kobe University’s research team include Professor Takeshi MAEDA, Professor Narufumi KADOMATSU, Professor Hiroshi TAKAHASHI, Professor Ichiro NAKAYAMA (of Hokkaido University), Professor Ryo SHIMANAMI, Assoc. Professor Akiko KATO (of Nihon University), Assoc. Professor Naoko MARIYAMA (of Tokai University), Hikari SAITO, Noori SE, and Takafumi SUZUKI.
The project began on December 2021 and will conclude on February 2025.
His research and novel methodologies have found many applications, mostly in Energy and Climate Change but also in many other areas of substantive law.
Energy and Climate Change Projects:
- His work on Green Paradox models found new solutions that enabled the furtherance of green energy policies with little risk of policy ‘backfire’.
- His project to find sustainable options for the development of offshore methane hydrates (‘OMH’) has found legal solutions that could enable energy production, carbon storage, and freshwater production from a singular natural resource that almost all coastal states possess within their Exclusive Economic Zones.
- His work on legal frameworks for offshore storage of carbon has enabled new perspectives and pathways for the safe mitigation of carbon risks for developing economies in Asia.
- Partain’s research has supported South Korea’s Ministry for Environment for several projects. One was to advance strategic guidance on how South Korea could negotiate a Free Trade Agreement with the United States while best protecting its own environmental laws and standards. Another project was to provide guidance on carbon capture and storage projects.
- His research pushed deeper questions into why the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (‘UNCCD’) have not been more effective to date and provided a novel approach to use OMH to require enhanced funding under this Convention.
- His research on social choice theory and anticommons found application in analyzing the structural assumptions of corporate law on decision-making executives and governance committees and their inability to integrate green energy considerations into corporate planning with obvious legal impacts for climate change laws and policies.
- Together with Professor Michael Faure, they have co-written a book that upturned conventional expectations that Law & Economics would not support an aggressive call in support of environmental law. In fact, they demonstrated that the economic analysis of law does support ‘classical’ notions of environmental law as well as climate change law. They highlighted how such an analysis could be especially useful for countries with economic development issues, to help policy makers understand the efficacies of environmental law for long run economic growth policies.
Other Major Projects:
- Responding to COVID-19, Partain received £625,000 (approx. $850,000) in grants from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (‘JSPS’) and the UK Research & Innovation (‘UKRI’), to lead a 17-member joint research committee of Japanese and British scholars to apply Partain’s mathematical ‘graph theory’ approaches to analyze Japan’s COVID-19 rules and policies to enable reforms for better medical and pharmaceutical policy options for future pandemic contagions.
- His investigation into the legal ‘custom’ of preferring ‘man+woman marriage’ as the foundational juristic focus in family law, instead of a juristic focus on broader definitions of ‘family’, has enabled new conversations on how family law could be better redesigned to serve more of society more equitably.
- His research into the limitations of artificial intelligence (‘AI’) and deep learning systems provided a critical warning of overreliance on such technologies by contract law scholars, that an erosion of equity and fairness in law is likely to occur if scholars rely on such systems to ‘advance’ contract law research.
- Professor Partain developed a novel approach to analyzing public international law (‘PIL’) by recognizing the pattern of anticommons in PIL and thus enabling new mathematical methods to be applied to it.
Funding and Grants
A set of COVID-related research grants worth £620,000 (USD $850,000) was awarded to the University of Aberdeen’s School of Law and its research partners of Kobe University’s Graduate School of Law and the British Institute for International and Comparative Law (BIICL). The funds from the Japanese Society for the Progression of Science (JSPS) and the UK Research Institute (UKRI) will award the University of Aberdeen and the British Institute for International and Comparative Law with £424,857.38 and Kobe University with ¥29,980,000, accordingly. The grants run for three years, from December 2021 till February 2025.
The funds are in support of the JSPS and UKRI recent call for ‘Addressing COVID-19 Challenges with Japanese Researchers’. The research project proposes to examine how aspects of private law, commercial law, and intellectual property law might be reformed to better enable a rapid policy response in the face of an emerging pandemic.
In particular, expertise from legal game theory, such as anticommons structures, will be used as an innovative legal research methodology.
The research team includes legal scholars from the University of Aberdeen, BIICL, Kobe University, Hokkaido University, Nihon University, and Tokai University, making this one of the broadest UK-Japan legal research projects in recent history.
Professor Partain serves as the PI for all UK-based researchers and Professor Maeda serves as the PI for all Japan-based researchers.
- Undergraduate, 4 year, September start
I was one of the originators of this program and I am glad to take your questions about how we blend studying computer science with the study of law.
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:
- Suchanun Hunsa-Udom: The Tragedy of Common Heritage: Environmental Conservation and the Exploitation of the Resources of the Deep Seabed
- Alessandro Negri: International Legal Considerations Small-Medium Nuclear Reactors: Both Fission and Fusion based reactors
- Etta Ojong-Okongor: On Water, Economic Access to Water, and the Missing Results from the UNCCD
- Liliyana Kalinova: On the Provision of Envionmental Law for Mars
- Ilya Sukhanov: Legal Foundations for the Privatization of Public Activities
- Josselin Lavigne: On Sovereignty over Non-Earth Bodies
- Jennfier Nwali: Comparative Analysis of Legal Frameworks for Hydrogen Economies
- Ijud Abeng Tajud: On Protecting the Independence and Functonality of Indonesia's Judiciary
He gladly honors his previous students who successfully passed their viva exams and graduated with their PhDs:
- Nyingi Bonnie: Interpreting Nigerian Environmental Rules with Context from the Ijon Culture
- Ahmad Usmarwi Kaffah: On the Optimal Legal Frameworks for Indonesia's Offshore Methane Hydrates
- Iman Mulyana: Legal Framework for Public Participation in Environmental Decision-Making on Geothermal Energy Project in Indonesia
- 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
- Marianthi Pappa: The 'Butterfly Effect' in Maritime Boundary Dispute Resolution
- Hikari Saito: On the Comparative Analysis of Singapore and New York Conventions
- 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
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Hydrate occurrence in Europe: Risks, rewards, and legal frameworksMarine Policy, vol. 121, 104122Contributions to Journals: Articles
A Prospective Review of South Korea’s Environmental And Marine Protection Laws Governing Offshore Methane Hydrate ActivitiesChung-And Journal of Legal Studies (중앙대학교 법학논문집), vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 293-350Contributions to Journals: Articles
Comparative Contract Law: Methodologically Human or Artificially Intelligent?Hiroshima Law Journal (広島法学), vol. 44, no. 1, pp. 118-232Contributions to Journals: Articles
Offshore Methane Hydrates in Japan: Prospects, Challenges and the LawBritish Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL). 74 pagesBooks and Reports: Books
Regulatory Frameworks for South Korea’s Offshore Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) ActivitiesKyungpook National University Law Journal ( 경북대학교 법학연구원 법학논고), vol. 69, pp. 63-115Contributions to Journals: Articles
Anticommons in Public International Law: Consideration of a New Approach for Legal ResearchGachon Law Review (가천법학), vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 211-264Contributions to Journals: Articles
Coordinating Public and Private Sustainability: Green Energy Policy, International Trade Law, and Economic MechanismsRoutledge. 160 pagesBooks and Reports: Books
The laws and economics of confucianism: kinship and property in preindustrial China and England by Taisu ZhangComparative Legal History, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 228-233Contributions to Journals: Reviews of Books, Films and Articles
Environmental Law and Economics: Theory and PracticeCambridge University Press, Cambridge. 370 pagesBooks and Reports: Books
Efficient Development and Enforcement of a Regulatory Framework for Private Operators in South Korea’s Offshore Carbon Capture and Storage ActivitiesLINKING CLIMATE CHANGE POLICIES. Weishaar, S., Kim, E., Tiche, F. (eds.). Edward Elgar Publishing LimitedChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters