School of Law

Image of Mary Footer

Mary Footer

Professor of International Economic Law, FRSA, Faculty of Social Sciences



Professor Footer joined the School of Law as Professor of International Economic Law on 1 January 2006. She is co-director with Professor Nigel White of the Nottingham International Law and Security Centre (NILSC) http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/nilsc as well as co-director of the School's Postgraduate Research Programme. Since summer, 2009, she heads up the Business, Trade and Human Rights Unit in the Human Rights Law Centre http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/hrlc and is currently one of the main researchers on the EU FP7-funded FRAME (Fostering Human Rights among European Policies in the work-cluster on the role of non-state actors. She read European History and History of Art at the University of East Anglia (BA Hons) (1976), followed by a JD in Dutch civil law from the University of the Netherlands Antilles (1985), an LLM in Public International Law from UCL (1988) and a PhD cum laude (with distinction) from the Erasmus University Rotterdam (2005).

She taught previously at UCL (1988-1995), Erasmus University Rotterdam (1999-2001) and University of Amsterdam (2001-2005). From 1995-1999 she was Senior Program Legal Counsel at the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), Rome, responsible for training in international economic development and law reform in developing countries. She has been a Visiting Scholar at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge (2014), a Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow at the European University Institute (EUI), Florence (2010), and was the first Fellow in Public International Law at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, London (1992-1994). Professor Footer has guest lectured at the Universities of Kent and Warwick, UK; the EUI, Florence; University of Michigan Law School, USA; the World Trade Institute, Berne, Switzerland; Utrecht University and European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA), Maastricht, The Netherlands; the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium; and the Universities of Peking (Beida) and Tsinghua, Beijing, China. From 2001-2009, she was Dozent in the LLM on 'European and International Law' at the Europa-Institut, Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken, Germany.

Expertise Summary

Professor Footer's research and teaching expertise lies in the fields of public international law and international economic law, including international investment law, international financial and monetary law, WTO law & development, food security, and business, human rights and CSR. Some of her papers can be accessed on Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN) at: http://ssrn.com/author=408258. Her current research focuses on the relationship between transnational and international economic law and governance.

She has been an expert consultant to a number of international and European organisations and has conducted evaluations for a range of scientific research organisations based in Europe, South Africa, Canada and Hong Kong. Professor Footer was the recipient of a Nuffield Foundation Social Science Small Grant (2009-2010), and has pursued research on the socio-economic implications of the sovereign-rating methodology used by major credit-rating agencies, with seed-funding from the University's IGS Research Priority Group on Finance and Society (2012). She is series editor (together with Professor Alan Sykes of NYU Law School) for the Edward Elgar Series on International Economic Law, a member of the Editorial Board of Journal of World Investment and Trade, the Manchester Journal of International Economic Law, the European Journal of Risk Regulation and the State Practice and International Law Journal; she is a continuing member of the Advisory Board of Legal Issues in International Integration and the e-journal Law, Social Justice and Global Development. In 2010 she was elected to the Executive Board of the European Society of International Law (ESIL), and was a founding members of the ESIL Interest Group in International Economic Law (2007-2010). She is Director of Research for the British Branch of the International Law Association (ILA); Chair of the newly reconstituted ILA International Trade Law Committee; member of the ILA Study Group on Socially Responsible Investment and of the ILA Study Group on Due Diligence in International Law. She has been a member of the Society of International Economic Law (SIEL) since its foundation. In 2012 Professor Footer was nominated a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).

Teaching Summary

International economic law: international investment law, international financial and monetary law, WTO; law & development.

Research Summary

Aspects of transnational economic governance: the role of transnational law and legal process in international rule-making; complex transnational governance. Challenges to law-making in the domain of… read more

Current PhD Students

  • Che, Luyao: State Capitalism and the International Economic Order (with Dr Uglješa Grušić)
  • Alhelali, Shaikhah: Legal Aspects of Technology Transfer and the Development Agenda in the TRIPS Agreement (co-supervised with Professor Paul Torremans)
  • Frank, Sotonye: Stabilisation Clauses and Sustainable Development in Developing Countries (co-supervised with Dr Edward Goodwin)
  • Garnjana-goonchorn, Intu-on: The legal technicality of the TBT Agreement and its effects on the environmental governance (co-supervised with Mr Michael Bowman)
  • Stathopoulou, Kalliopi: African Intrastate Peace Agreements and Self-determination (co-supervised with Professor Nigel White)
  • Lin, Wei-Chung: Defending the Environment: The Role of Civil Society in the Resolution of Conflicts between International Investment and the Environment (co-supervised with Dr Edward Goodwin)
  • Senior, Kerry: The Relationship between International and EU Law: Judicial Review, Art. 103 UN Charter and the Protection of Human Rights (co-supervised with Professor Nigel White)

Recent PhD Students

Enquiries are welcome from prospective PhD students in the following fields of my expertise:

  • public international law
  • international economic law, including international trade (WTO law), international investment law, international financial and monetary law
  • transnational economic governance
  • law & development
  • socio-economic aspects of biotechnology and food security
  • business, international human rights and corporate social responsibility (CSR)

Current Research

Aspects of transnational economic governance: the role of transnational law and legal process in international rule-making; complex transnational governance. Challenges to law-making in the domain of public international law: effect of state practice and role of treaty bodies and autonomous institutional arrangements under multilateral treaties.

Past Research

Institutional and normative aspects of the World Trade Organization. The role of soft law in international economic relations. the relationship between trade and investment. Various aspects of biotechnology, international law and food security.

Future Research

Return of the state and its significance for international law and policy making. The politics of international investment law.

School of Law

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