Mary Dobbs
    Phone: +44 (0)28 9097 3578

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    Research Interests

    My main research interests lie in the areas of environmental law, agriculture and genetically modified crops. These areas are crucial to society and complex due to their interdisciplinary and multifunctional natures. 

    When it comes to GMOs, I have written on the development of the EU regime to encompass the potential for Member States to 'opt-out', the viability of coexistence and freedom of choice between GM and non-GM crops, and multi-level governance. My research has also taken me across the 'public-private divide' through most recently considering the impact of 'enclosure' of plant genetic resources through patenting upon agricultural sustainability. This research was facilitated in part by a British Academy/Leverhulme grant.

    Regarding environmental law more generally, I engage in particular with the precautionary principle (building upon my thesis) and currently am considering the impact of Brexit on environmental and agri-environmental issues within Northern Ireland and the UK. I have provided written submissions to various Brexit Inquiries on trade/agriculture/food/the environment, engaged with ENGOs on environmental governance post Brexit, and in June 2018 provided oral evidence on agriculture in NI post Brexit to the NI Affairs Committee in Westminster: .

    My ongoing research is drawing these strands together and looking at issues relating to agri-sustainabilty. I hosted a workshop on ecological sustainability in May 2017, a workshop on agri-sustinability in Cardiff in May 2018 and am now building upon this with colleagues within QUB and beyond. I am co-authoring a book on Brexit and Agriculture for Routledge with Dr. Ludivine Petetin in Cardiff Law School.

    I am a Co-Investigator in JMCE: Tensions at the Fringes of Europe (, which funded the ecological sustainability workshop in 2017.

    I am interested in supervising students in any of the above areas and also the overlapping area of food security.


    My current teaching roles include coordinating and co-teaching JD Equity and Trusts, and Law of the Home (Family Law - Level 3 LLB). I coordinate and run the Level 3 Environmental Law module. I also co-teach the LLB Equity module (Level 2 and 3 - comprising c. 320 students).

    Whilst in Queen's, I have previously coordinated and delivered the LLB Equity modules (Level 2 and 3 - coordinated for 3 years and co-taught for 6 years), LLB Research Projects (Level 3 - for 2 years) and LLM Methods of Legislation and Law-Making (LLM - for 3 years). I have also taught on a range of other modules in Queen's, including JD Research Methodologies.

    I have previously taught in subjects such as EU, Company and Contract Law.

    I am aso an External Examiner for Contract Law.

    My main teaching interests lie in the fields of Environmental Law, Equity/Trusts and Contract Law.



    I am currently the Programme Director for the MLaw Programme in Queen's. Previously I have undertaken roles such as Advisor of Studies and (co)Director of External Affairs.


    I completed my BCL (Law with French Law) in UCD, Dublin, having spent my third year in Université Paris II (Panthéon-Assas). I completed a PhD under the supervision of Professor Colin Scott at UCD that examined the question of whether the precautionary principle is viable as a legal principle. In particular, the thesis focused upon issues of legitimacy and justiciability, with a case study on the precautionary principle's role in relation to genetically modified organisms in the European Union. 

    During my time in Queen's, I have co-organised events such as the UK IVR Conference in 2015 upon the public-private divide, the Early Academics' Essential Skills Conferences for Phd students in 2014 and 2017, and an ecological sustainability workshop under the remit of the TREUP project. 


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