Academic Spotlight: Nicolette Butler on International Economic Law
Nicolette Butler is a Senior Lecturer in Law and Programme Director for Law. In this spotlight, she talks about her fascination for International Economic Law and her contribution to teaching at Manchester.
I completed my LLB (Law-French) and LLM (International Law) at the University of Leeds. Whilst studying for my LLM degree, I became very interested in the field of International Economic Law, and chose to take courses on the law of the World Trade Organisation and the law of foreign investment. I opted to write my LLM dissertation on the possibility of establishing an appellate mechanism in international investment law, and I found it so interesting and engaging that when my dissertation supervisor asked me if I would consider doing a PhD on the subject, I went on to do just that! Whilst completing my PhD, I undertook some undergraduate teaching and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. An academic career has enabled me to pursue my two main passions: research and teaching.
Of course, The University of Manchester has an excellent reputation in academia. Additionally, the Law department has strengths in international law and commercial law; this made Manchester a good fit with my own research and teaching interests. Our academics (many of whom teach on the LLM/MA) are internationally recognised experts; it is a real pleasure to work with such amazing colleagues who produce world-leading research and are highly dedicated and inspirational teachers.
Having finished my LLB, I was quite sure I did not want to pursue a career as a lawyer or a barrister. I therefore decided to stay on at Leeds to study a subject that I had not been able to examine during my undergraduate degree (due to programme credit and timetabling restrictions); that is, international law. Completing my LLM in International Law, I was absolutely fascinated by the topic, and enjoyed it so much I decided to undertake a PhD in the field of international investment law. International investment law (and international economic law, broadly defined) are, to this day, my main research areas. I also developed an interest in alternative dispute resolution, in particular commercial arbitration, which is an area I also actively research.
Currently, I am working on various projects. Recently, together with a Manchester colleague, I was awarded a grant to investigate the possibility of a UK-US Free Trade Agreement. The project will enable us to examine the potential costs and benefits of such an agreement, as well as considering wider implications for scrutiny of international treaties by Parliament post-Brexit. I am also writing a piece that examines exceptions clauses in international investment treaties, as well as co-writing an article on the EU’s proposed Multilateral Investment Court.
As the LLM/MA Law Programme Director, teaching on the two most popular postgraduate modules (Investment and Arbitration), co-ordinating the Research Skills course, and supervising several LLM dissertations and MA research papers annually, students will undoubtedly see quite a bit of me!