Tom Baycock

Tom is currently completing his PhD in law, titled ‘From Environmental Law to Ecological Law: Reinterpreting Sovereign Principles for a Greener Criminal Law in the Polar North’. He holds an LLM from the University of Exeter and a BA (Hons) in History with International Relations from Plymouth University. He has taught environmental law as a Postgraduate Teaching Assistant.

Research Interests

Tom’s research engages with legal and governance issues that directly affect species management and the natural environment. He is especially interested in furthering the integration of scientific expertise on biological systems into legal frameworks and policy, particularly in the context of marine governance. Policy areas such as fisheries law and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are just two examples that present not only significant compliance and enforcement challenges from a legal perspective but also rely on detailed scientific input to be effective. To further supplement this interest, Tom studied a biosciences module focussing on marine biology and ocean systems as part of his LLM, submitting a final research assignment on the possible impacts of increased predator-prey abundance in MPAs.

Tom is also interested in species-specific laws and regulations, in particular those that affect wolves, whales, and sharks, and their application at both the national and supranational levels. His LLM dissertation considered the potential for the establishment of an international commission for the conservation of sharks, critically analysing the current legal frameworks governing shark fishing and finning in international and national waters. Tom has also carried out research on legal frameworks and sovereignty in the polar regions and maintains an interest in the debates around legal personhood and the rights of nature, considering the idea of the representation of non-human species in courts of law.

His present PhD research engages in critiques of environmental law and examines whether there is now a need for an ecological law with a greater reliance on scientific input. The research examines what an ecological law
may look like, and focuses specifically on the ‘greening’ of two specific areas of law: a reinterpretation of sovereignty to improve outlooks for biodiversity, and a greening of criminal law with a consideration of the concept of ecocide as a fifth crime under the Rome Statute.

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