Richard Barnes

Professor Richard Barnes

Research Director

Faculty of Business, Law and Politics

01482 466320

Professor Barnes is an internationally-recognised expert in international law and law of the sea. He has been invited to give advice to government bodies in the UK and overseas, NGOS and the private sector on a wide range of marine law matters.

His views on current issues, such as Brexit and fisheries law, have been sought by international media, including the BBC, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

Professor Barnes has given papers at leading universities and institutions, such as the Lincoln Institute (Cambridge, US), BIICL, and the Stockholm Resilience Centre.


Research Interests

Professor Barnes' research mainly focuses on the interface between the law of the sea and other areas of law, and other academic disciplines, such as politics, geography, economics and marine biology.

He is particularly interested in the governance of marine resources and energy, the legal implications of Brexit for the marine sector and the use of disputed sea areas, especially around islands.

Research groups

  • Founding member and director of the McCoubrey Centre for International Law

  • Member of the University's Hull Maritime and Marine Institute

  • Member of the Steering Committee, Sustainable Oceans Project, Netherland Institute for the Law of the Sea, Utrecht University

  • Member of Global Think Tank on Fisheries in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (World Bank/WWF project)

  • Member of Global Think Tank to provide legal expertise on fisheries in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction – supported by World Bank and the WWF (World Bank project Ocean Partnerships for Sustainable Fisheries and Biodiversity Conservation – Models for Innovation and Reform)


Property Rights and Natural Resources (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2009).

'Energy Sovereignty in Marine Spaces’ (2014), 29, International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, 1-27.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: A Living Instrument (BIICL, 2016), edited with J Barrett.

‘The Proposed LOSC Implementation Agreement on Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction and its Impact on International Fisheries Law’ (2016), 31, International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, 583-619.

'Commentaries on Article 2', 17-32, and 51-54 in A. Proelss (ed.), The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. A Commentary (Becker/Hart, 2017)

Full list


Programmes taught on (2019)

Modules list

  • Undergraduate Shipping Law (Convenor)

  • Environmental Law and Regulation (Convenor)

  • Law of the Sea (Convenor)

  • Practical Legal Skills

  • Postgraduate Admiralty Law (Convenor)

  • Carriage of Goods by Sea (Convenor)

  • Law of the Sea (Convenor)

  • Environmental Law and Regulation (Convenor)

  • Legal Research Seminar (Convenor)

Research PhDs

Professor Barnes is interested in supervising topics related to marine environmental law, law of the sea and international environmental law. In particular, he is interested in research related to the sustainable use of natural resources, especially fisheries and renewable energy, and the interface between law and science.

Completed PhDs 

Betina Kuzmarov, The Place of Unilateral Acts in International Law: Understanding a (Non) Legal Concept.

Elizabeth Bayer, The Regulation of Marine Environmental Indicators.

Antonius Hippolyte, Examining the Economic Self-Determination Deficit in the Third World: Regime Bias and the Hegemonic Expansion of International Investment Law.

Carmino Massarella, Jurisdiction over Maritime Piracy in International Law.

Current PhD supervisions 

Nkiruka Ugwuji Chidia Maduekwe, Achieving Environment Sustainability in Nigeria’s Extractive Industry: How Viable is Environmental Human Rights?

Mercedes Rosello, State Accountability: Walking the Line between Effective Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing Control and the Integrity of International Law.

Yuchen Guo, Public Participation in the Marine Environment Protection Decision-Making Process - A Lesson Learned from Marine Legislation.

Flavia Guerra, Sovereignty and Governance in Offshore Areas.

Junhua Liu, An Assessment of the Implications of the Maritime Silk Road Initiative for the Law of the Sea.

Professional highlights

Academic qualifications

  • LLB (Dundee)

  • LLM (Cambridge)

  • PhD (Hull)

External roles

Member of Society of Legal Scholars

On the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law and the New Zealand Yearbook of International Law, as well as the Peer Review Board of the German Yearbook of International Law.

Awards and accolades

  • Winner of the SLS Peter Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship 2009

  • Runner-up for the Inner Temple Book Prize 2009

Professional highlights

  • Expert Advice, External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee, National Assembly for Wales, 10 October 2016.

  • Witness, House of Lords Energy and Environment Sub-Committee (EU), 7 Sept 2016.

  • Expert Advice on revised EIA Directive for British Energy Estuarine and Marine Studies Programme/EDF Energy (2015).

  • Consultant for International Transport Works Federation, November 2013.

  • Consultant for WWF on Tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organisation Reform, June 2012

  • University of Hull Leadership Course