UCL Faculty of Laws


In-Person | Circular Economy and the Law: Bringing Justice into the Frame

29 March 2023, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm

Image of the book cover and authors, Feja Lesniewska and Katrien Steenmans

This book launch is hosted by UCL Centre for Law and the Environment

Event Information

Open to



UCL Laws


UCL Faculty of Laws (Moot Court)
Bentham House
4-8 Endsleigh Gardens

About this Book Launch

Amid increasing demand for virgin raw materials, and unsustainable consumption and waste disposal that are driving the global ecological and climate crisis, there are growing calls to urgently transition to circular economies. A circular economy aims to move away from a linear take-make-dispose model of resource use towards the prevention of waste and looping any wastes produced and other resources through reuse, recycling, and other recovery. An increasing number of circular approaches are being adopted, implemented, and integrated in national and local laws and policies.

Even though lawyers, policy-makers, and academics are engaged with questions about the role law and policy needs to play to enable a circular economy, the approach adopted lacks a critical dimension. Questions about the impact laws will have on distributional equity and justice, and how a circular economy will avoid repeating injustices the linear economic legal infrastructure created and has sustained, are largely missing from the research agenda.

In Circular Economy and the Law: Bringing Justice into the Frame, Dr Lesniewska and Dr Steenmans explore the range of circular economy-related laws being adopted globally before critically considering the implications those laws will have on the world’s justice terrain, historic, current, and future. The book demonstrates that if a just, inclusive circular economy is to be created, existing inequities and injustices need not only to be understood, especially the role that laws have played in embedding them within the linear economic system, but also acted upon.

The Panel

Professor Eloise Scotford, Dean UCL Laws and Co-Director of the Centre of the Environment and Law

Professor Julia Stegemann (UCL) is the founding Director of CircEL, the UCL Circular Economy Laboratory, a hub for research and education on resource and Director of the UKRI Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre for Mineral-based Construction Materials. Professor Stegmann’s has published extensively interdisciplinary research with other academics across the sciences and social sciences.

Dr Feja Lesniewska (UCL) is a researcher currently focusing on how laws, policies, regulations, and standards can enable a transition to circularity within the mineral based construction sectors in the UK with the UKRI Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre for Mineral-based Construction Materials. Dr Lesniewska previously has undertaken research on critical infrastructure, digital technologies, and smart energy systems as well as forest related laws with field work conducted in China, Europe, Ghana and Russia.

Dr Katrien Steenmans (University of Copenhagen) is a researcher with the Circular Supply Chains (CirCus) project investigating the legal risks of adopting extended producer responsibility and liability within private law and waste law to promote circular economies. This builds on her previous research within waste law, which has focused on: the role of public environmental law in enabling industrial symbiosis; implications of different property rights in waste; and whether blockchain technology can be used to underpin and support waste law and policy. Dr Steenmans was previously an Assistant Professor at Coventry University and research fellow at King’s College London, having also held research positions at UCL and the University of Surrey.

Professor Rosalind Malcolm (University of Surrey) is Co-Director of the Surrey Centre for International and Environmental Law (SCIEL). Professor Malcolm specialises in multidisciplinary research exploring ways law can be used to protect the environment and has published widely on legal issues and the circular economy.

Professor Amanda Perry-Kessaris (University of Kent) specialises in empirically grounded, theoretically informed, cross-disciplinary approaches to law; and to the economic life of law in particular. Questions running through Professor Perry -Kessaris’s research include: What can design do for law? How might we enhance our ability to understand and influence the actual and potential economic lives of law?

Dr Sean Thomas (University of York) is a leading legal scholar on law and the circular economy. Dr Thomas’s research concerns, broadly, the transfer of ownership of personal property. Recently his work has concentrated on circular economy. His pioneering analysis of law and circular economics particularly on social and digital technology impacts.

About the Centre

The Centre for Law and Environment was established to provide a focal point for the UCL Faculty of Laws' outstanding expertise and academic strength in the field of the environment and the law. The main goals of the Centre are to advance research and teaching and explore the role of law in meeting contemporary environmental and energy challenges. The Centre is committed to treating domestic law (UK), regional (European Union) and international aspects of environmental law in a comprehensive and integrated manner. This approach is reflected in offerings on the LLM course and the supervision of doctoral students, as well as in the diverse range of research pursued by members of the Centre.

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Book your place

This book launch will be held in-person (only) at UCL Faculty of Laws (Bentham House, 4-8 Endsleigh Gardens, London WC1H 0EG).

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