Project team

Amy Strecker is Associate Professor at the Sutherland School of Law and PI of PROPERTY[IN]JUSTICE. A continuous thread throughout her work has been the problem of access to justice for communities in landscape disputes. Her monograph, Landscape Protection in International Law (Oxford University Press, 2018) provided a first overview of the role of international law in landscape governance, combining legal analysis with interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspectives. Amy was previously based at Leiden University where she taught international cultural heritage law, human rights and international justice. She was also part of a transdisciplinary European Research Council project on the impact of colonial encounters on the Caribbean (Nexus1492), in which she dealt with the role of international law in confronting the colonial past. Aside from directing the project, Amy’s research within PROPERTY[IN]JUSTICE focuses on the limits and potential of the substantive rights to property and culture in relation to land, as well as critically assessing the role of international law more generally in landscape governance. At a more granular level, to what extent does ‘property’ accommodate different cultural understandings of land? Can the rights to culture and/or property be expanded to include the relationship between people and place beyond the context of indigenous peoples? Amy’s research also examines the implementation of progressive judgements interpreting property in broad, collective terms, to ascertain the impact of international law on the ground.
Raphael Ng’etich is a Kenyan legal scholar. His research interests are primarily in property law, alternative justice systems, and law and technology. His research within PROPERTY[IN]JUSTICE focuses on carbon offsets schemes in unregistered community land in Northern Kenya. Prior to commencing his doctoral studies, Raphael was an adjunct lecturer at Daystar University School of Law in Nairobi where he taught contract law, civil procedure, labour law, business law, and company law. He is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (MCIArb). He obtained a Master of Laws degree from Notre Dame Law School, a Postgraduate Diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law, and a Bachelor of Laws (first class honours) degree from Strathmore Law School. Raphael’s publications include Property Law (with F. Kariuki and S. Ouma, Strathmore University Press, 2016); ‘The promotion of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms by the Judiciary in Kenya and its impact on party autonomy’ with S. Kariuki, (2018) 6(2) Alternative Dispute Resolution 63; and ‘The current trend of costs in arbitration: Implications on access to justice and the attractiveness of arbitration’ (2017) 5(2) Alternative Dispute Resolution 111.
Sinéad Mercier is an Irish PhD researcher with PROPERTY[IN]JUSTICE where she is exploring the gap between international energy law and local resistances to energy projects in Ireland. Land lawyers and climate lawyers have proposed many different forms of valuing the landscape and emissions - but energy remains a largely private, placeless and terra nullius concept in law, despite its major impacts on the environment and communities. Sinéad holds an LLM from the London School of Economics, a post-graduate diploma in Gender, Globalisation and Human Rights from the National University of Ireland Galway and a Bachelor of Laws from Trinity College Dublin. Sinéad’s research interests lie in post-colonial and spatial analyses of law, land, and energy democracy. She has previously worked for the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, the National Economic and Social Council, the Green Party of Ireland and Philip Lee law firm. Her monograph on the interaction of environmental and cultural heritage law in Ireland with post-colonial understandings of the Irish fairyfort, called 'Men Who Eat Ringforts' was written with artist Michael Holly and seanachaí Eddie Lenihan and published in 2020 with Askeaton Public Arts (funded by Clare County Council Arts Office Gaining Ground programme). Other publications include Mercier, S., Bresnihan, P., McIlroy, D. and Barry, J. (2020) ‘Climate Action via Just Transitions Across the Island of Ireland: Labour, Land and the Low-Carbon Transition’, in Robbins, D., Torney, D. and Brereton, P. (Eds.), Ireland and the Climate Crisis. Basingstoke: Palgrave and Mercier, S (2020) Four Case Studies on Just Transition: Lessons for Ireland, National Economic and Social Council Research Series, Paper No.15.
Sinéad Mercier
Sinéad Mercier
(PhD Researcher)
Amanda Byer is an environmental lawyer from Grenada. She holds a PhD in Cultural Heritage Law from Leiden University, the Netherlands and an LLM in Environmental Law from University College London. Amanda’s research interests lie at the intersection of land, law and spatial justice, with particular reference to small island developing states. Her doctoral research (monograph published with Sidestone Press, 2022) involved a legal geographical analysis of heritage, planning and environmental laws in the English-speaking Lesser Antilles. It considered the importance of local relationships with heritage to community cohesion and livelihoods and looked to the protection of landscape via procedural environmental rights (PER) to protect these resources. Amanda was subsequently awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at New York University School of Law, where she explored the role of PER in the Escazú Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean and its European counterpart the Aarhus Convention.

Within PROPERTY[IN]JUSTICE, Amanda is tracing the conceptual origins of land as property in international law, from its emergence in the common law to its crystallization during the post-1945 period in the UN and regional human rights treaties and their protocols (the European Convention on Human Rights, American Convention on Human Rights and its protocols and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights) as well as early bilateral investment treaties.
Sonya is a South African socio-legal scholar interested in the coloniality of legal personhood, particularly as it relates to communal land claims in southern Africa. While new legal avenues in international law, in particular indigenous peoples' rights, allow dispossessed groups lacking formal title to affirm collective land rights against powerful public or private actors, for groups seeking to avail of those legal avenues, it is necessary to be legible as a "community", a concept that has arguably not been sufficiently interrogated in a transnational legal context. Informed by the ways in which apartheid was not a once-off historical event, but rather a phenomenon made possibly through transnational technologies of colonial governance (Evans 2019; Mamdani 1996; Sides 2014), Sonya’s PhD explores: 1. What is the normative meaning of “community” in post Apartheid South African and Namibian land claims with respect to legal standing? 2. How do indigenous groups in the margins of post-apartheid racial categorisation draw on their status as "community" under international law to affirm collective land rights? Conversely, how are these groups (mis)recognised through national and international law? 3. What is the impact of the legal meanings of community on the locus standi of claimants and, more broadly, spatial justice (Graham 2011; Soja 2010)? Sonya has graduated with a Master of Laws from Peking University specializing in Chinese law and society, and a Master of Philosophy in Comparative Law in Africa from the University of Cape Town (UCT). Her approaches to legal subject matter are strongly shaped by her interdisciplinary background in sociolinguistics and Xhosa: she remains interested in the interplay of words, power, norms and social justice, with a strong Global South emphasis. She is a research fellow at the Centre for Legal Integration in Africa at the University of the Western Cape and was a Yenching Academy Fellow at Peking University (2017-2019). In 2018, she was selected to present at the 11th International Junior Faculty Forum at Stanford University on her research on comparative family law in sub-Saharan Africa. Her publications include: Cotton, S., 2023. 16. Are women in polygamous customary marriages entitled to constitutional protection in the Southern African development community?. Research Handbook on Family Justice Systems, p.250. Diala, A.C. and Cotton, S.R., 2021. At-Issue: Chained Communities: A Critique of South Africa's Approach to Land Restitution. African Studies Quarterly, 20(3), pp.73-86.
Deirdre is the ERC Project Manager in the Sutherland School of Law, having previously held the position of Research and Innovation Manager. She is a graduate of UCD, having obtained a BA in Economics and MSc in Environmental Management. She spent over 10 years working in the financial services sector and has recently become a PhD candidate in the Sutherland School of Law, focusing on the impact of disruptive technologies in financial services regulations. Deirdre is the project manager for PROPERTY[IN]JUSTICE and two other ERC research projects hosted at the Sutherland School of Law: Effective Nature Laws, led by Prof Suzanne Kingston, and The Foundations of Institutional Authority, led by Prof Eoin Carolan. She previously worked on a number of other research projects including ‘A comparative analysis of transnational private regulation: legitimacy, quality, effectiveness and enforcement’ funded by the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law and ‘Listed Companies’ Engagement with Diversity: A Multi-Jurisdictional Study of Annual Report Disclosures’ with Trinity College Dublin.