Louis Kotzé

Photo by Maximilian Glas


Faculty of Law, North-West University, South Africa


Louis is Research Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law, North-West University in South Africa. He is also Senior Professorial Fellow in Earth System Law at the University of Lincoln, United Kingdom, and currently serves as the co-chair of the Earth System Governance Network’s Scientific Steering Committee. His research focuses on human rights, socio-ecological justice and environmental constitutionalism; law and the Anthropocene; and Earth system law. He has over 200 publications on these topics. Louis is an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow, and in 2018 he was awarded a European Commission Horizon 2020 Marie Curie Fellowship to lead a project on Global Ecological Custodianship-Innovative International Environmental Law for the Anthropocene at the University of Lincoln. In 2022 he served as the Klaus Töpfer Sustainability Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam. Next to his academic commitments, he is assistant editor of the journal Earth System Governance; a Senior Fellow of the Earth System Governance Network; and a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Commission on Environmental Law.

Louis joined THE NEW INSTITUTE in the Academic Year 2023/24 as the Chair in the program “Governing the Planetary Commons: a Focus on the Amazon”.


The planetary commons: A new paradigm for safeguarding Earth-regulating systems in the Anthropocene
in PNAS, 2024

Research Handbook on Law, Governance and Planetary Boundaries
2021 (with Duncan French)

Earth System Law: The Juridical Dimensions of Earth System Governance
in: Earth System Governance, 2019 (with Rakhyun E. Kim)

The Anthropocene, Earth System Vulnerability and Socio-ecological Injustice in an Age of Human Rights
in: Journal of Human Rights and the Environment, 2019

Rethinking Global Environmental Law and Governance in the Anthropocene
in: Journal of Energy and Natural Resources Law, 2014

Global Environmental Constitutionalism in the Anthropocene, 2016

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