Sydney Spotlight with Professor Tim Stephens

24 July 2023
A discussion with Professor Tim Stephens
We talk to Professor Tim Stephens, Professor of International Law, who has recently been appointed to the List of Arbitrators under the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty by the Attorney General.
Tim Stephens

Professor Tim Stephens

I'm excited to take on this position because…

Of the importance of the Antarctic Treaty System for protecting Antarctica and because of Australia’s enduring interest as a key architect of the system. I’m looking forward to contributing to the dispute settlement process within this system.

The Antarctic Treaty and its Environmental Protocol are important because…

They have promoted peace, science and environmental protection on the continent since 1959. We need them more than ever given the remarkable changes now underway as climate change transforms the cryosphere (the frozen components of the Earth system).  

On an average day you’ll find me… 

Teaching international law to undergraduate and postgraduate students, and researching ways that environmental treaty regimes, including the Antarctic Treaty System, can be strengthened to address global challenges.

The Sydney Centre for International Law at the Sydney Law School is… 

One of the very best places in the world to teach and research, and we have a proud tradition of producing exceptional graduates and ground-breaking research across all areas of international law. 

Apart from its stunning beauty and unique ecosystems, the coolest thing about Antarctica is… 

Its complex legal and political status. There are few completely straightforward legal issues in Antarctica, which always makes things interesting. It is also fascinating because of the intersection of relevant disciplines, as illustrated by ‘Antarctic Resolution’, a multidisciplinary project on Antarctica to which I contributed and that was exhibited at La Biennale di Venezia in 2021.  

This 1000-page volume presents stunning images and written commentary from the fields of architecture, art, biology, chemistry, climate science, engineering, geography, history, law, literature, logistics, medicine, physics, political science, sociology, and technology on the Antarctic, and the multiple threats it faces.

Something that might surprise people about me is… 

That despite devoting so much time to studying Antarctica, I have never visited the continent and have no plans to do so. 

Related articles