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Dr Kim Bouwer

Associate Professor in Law

Associate Professor in Law in the Durham Law School
Director in the Durham Energy Institute


Dr Kim Bouwer specialises in climate change and environmental law, and private law (predominantly torts).  She teaches, researches and gives consultancy in these fields.  She has won awards and recognition for her teaching practice and research collaboration.  Her main area of interest is in climate litigation. Since 2019 she led on a project exploring the meaning and nature of climate litigation and justice in Africa.  An edited book on this theme has just been published with Bristol University Press.   She has also been the UK Rapporteur for the British Institute for International and Comparative Law on their Global Perspectives on Corporate Climate Legal Tactics project.

Dr Bouwer joined Durham Law School in 2021. She holds an LLB from the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg) and an LLM from the University of London. She completed her PhD at UCL. She has held posts or visiting positions at a variety of global institutions, including UCL, the European University Institute, the University of the Witwatersrand, and KCL.

Before her doctoral research, Dr Bouwer worked as a lawyer. She trained conducting legal community service in Johannesburg, then worked as an attorney in South Africa. Thereafter, Dr Bouwer worked as a solicitor at several Legal 500 firms in London, conducting claimant public interest litigation.


Since 2022 Dr Bouwer has been the Law School’s climate education co-ordinator. This is an ongoing role, which she has shaped relying on her previous teaching and research mainstreaming climate change in the core law degree. Dr Bouwer identified key climate competencies and, with the core convenors, worked to incorporate these as part of the students’ compulsory legal education. A project report was prepared in June 2023 and may be found on her profile below.

Since 2023 Dr Bouwer has also been the Fellows’ Representative in the Durham Energy Institute.

Previous roles at Durham include being co-Director of CELLS (Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences) in 2021-22, and serving as a member of the Law School’s Curriculum Review team in 2022-23.  At previous institutions Dr Bouwer’s citizenship roles have included LLM Programme Director (Strathclyde), Covid Learning Design Team (Exeter), and Decolonisation Committee and Steering Group Member (Exeter).


Dr Bouwer’s broader research interests lie in energy and climate change law and private law. She is particularly interested in litigation in the context of climate change, the regulation and governance of energy efficiency and low carbon technologies, and climate finance. At present her research focuses mainly on climate litigation, including in its relationship with activism.

From 2019 – 2023 Dr Bouwer led a project exploring the nature of and possibilities for climate litigation on the African continent. The project was underpinned by the core value that any litigation about climate on the African continent should serve the interests and priorities of the people of Africa. It brought together partners and authors from 15 different countries who explored a variety of perspectives on the subject matter. The project outputs included online engagement workshops (including in August 2020 and 2021), a co-edited collection on the theme, published by Carbon and Climate Law Review in 2021, and a co-edited collection with Bristol University Press which was published in 2024.

In 2018 Dr Bouwer published an article with the Journal of Environmental Law, which made a case for more attention on mundane legal disputes which are somehow related to climate change. In her current research, she has returned to this theme. She is working on a monograph – under contract with Cambridge University Press – which explores this concept in relation to specific categories of caselaw. 

Dr Bouwer is the national rapporteur for the UK on the Corporate Climate Litigation project run through the British Institute of International and Comparative Law. She is also a Theme Lead in for the 2023 Climate Cohort of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

Dr Bouwer retains an interest in tort doctrine and theory, and scholarship exploring the relationship between private interests and the public good in private law.


For the Durham Law School LLB, Dr Bouwer contributes lectures and seminars on the undergraduate Tort course, where she has also acted as convenor. She contributes lectures and seminars on Gender, Law and Society. Dr Bouwer convenes and co-teaches Global Environmental Law on the LLM, and supervises research at LLB and LLM level. She is on research leave in the 2023/4 academic year and will return to teaching in October 2024.

In other institutions at undergraduate level Dr Bouwer has taught Torts (also as convenor), Land Law (also as convenor) and environmental law and planning. At postgraduate level she has taught Climate Law (convenor), Energy and Natural Resources Law (convenor), Legal Methods (convenor), and across various modules in energy and environmental law.


Book review

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)


Supervision students