Pierre Cloutier de Repentigny

Study program:
Current affiliation:
University of Ottawa

Pierre Cloutier de Repentigny (environmental law, University of Ottawa) critically analyzes rules under the law of the sea that protect marine biodiversity with a view to promoting a more sustainable relationship between marine life and humanity.

Projet de recherche

Protecting marine life through the reformation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea: envisioning what environmental law could be

States’ attempts to limit environmental degradation through national and international environmental laws have seldom attained their goal. Economic development is and continues to be the main driver of our legal system. If we are serious in our desire to protect the environment, as we should be, we need to shift environmental law’s dominant paradigm.

Pierre’s research contributes to the development of this critical approach to law. It focuses on the decline of marine biodiversity. Marine life, which has value in and of itself, plays important cultural, spiritual, and subsistence roles in our societies. Its protection is currently governed in part by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the framework treaty regulating the world’s oceans. Pierre’s research links the innefectiveness of UNCLOS’ marine protection provisions to the treaty’s underlying liberal paradigm. It seeks to identify these fundamental flaws in order to rectify them and construct a new regime that puts ecology, and thus the survival of life on Earth, at the center.

Pierre Cloutier de Repentigny is a doctoral student at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law. His doctoral thesis, supervised by Professor Heather McLeod-Kilmurray, analyzes the marine life protection provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea through the lens of critical environmental law. It seeks to uncover the pervasive liberal biases of the framework regime preventing a sustainable relationship between marine life and humanity.

Pierre benefited from a variety of environmental law and policy experiences over the past eight years. He first started by involving himself in the political process through his election in 2008 to the Young Greens Council of Canada. He then gained public service experiences through his work with the Public Health Agency of Canada, Environment Canada, and the Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of the Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River. Most recently, Pierre had the chance to provide volunteer assistance to lawyers working on public interest environmental law cases. These practical experiences have complemented his academic training – at the University of Ottawa (LL.L. & LL.B.) and at the University of British Columbia (LL.M.) – and has given him a deeper understanding of the interaction of environmental issues and law.

Since 2008, Pierre has assited the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Academy of Environmental Law by providing with conferences, the EJournal and other activities. He has presented his work at the annual colloquium on multiple occasions. He is also involved with the University of Ottawa’s Center for Environmental Law and Global Sustainability, where he started a reading group for faculty and graduate students.

After clerking for the Hon. Justice Richard Mosley of the Federal Court and becoming a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, Pierre began offering assistance to refugee claimants. More recently, Pierre’s volunteer work has increasingly been geared towards defending trans people’s rights. He continues advocating for trans people’s access to justice today as JusticeTrans’ Director of Research and Supervision.