NZ Centre for Environmental Law

Professor Alexander Gillespie

External member, University of Waikato    

Professor Alexander Gillespie - environmental law profile

LLB LLM(Hons) Auckland PhD Nottingham 


Professor Alexander Gillespie obtained his LLB and LLM degrees with Honours from The University of Auckland. He did his PhD at Nottingham and post-doctoral studies at Colombia University in New York City.

Professor Alexander Gillespie is known internationally for his work on environmental law. He was the first New Zealander to be named Rapporteur for the World Heritage Convention, involving international environmental diplomacy. He has advised the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Conservation on legal and policy matters, and provides commissioned work for the United Nations, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and commercial and non-governmental organisations in New Zealand, Australia, United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland.

“Conservation, Biodiversity and International Law” is his latest book, which explains how international environmental law is created, provides an understanding of treaties, conventions and resolutions and how to apply the law in different environmental situations, and identifies where policy and legal actions can be improved. While the focus is the law, the work also covers the science, politics and philosophy that underpin environmental law.

Professor Gillespie also has another specialist interest. His other most recent book “The History of the Laws of War” Volumes 1-3 traces the origins of the modern laws of warfare from the earliest times to the present day. Relying on written records from as far back as 2400 BCE, and using sources ranging from the Bible to Security Council Resolutions, Professor Gillespie pieces together the history of a subject which is almost as old as civilisation itself.

Professor Gillespie has been awarded a Rotary International Scholarship, Fulbright Fellowship, Rockefeller Fellowship and a number of smaller domestic awards. In 2004 Al was awarded the New Zealand Law Foundation International Research Fellowship. Al is also the New Zealand lawyer/expert on a number of international delegations.