Rafael Leal-Arcas

Visiting Professor of Law Affiliation: Visiting
Email: rla4@nyu.edu
Education: BA and JD Granada University; MPhil London School of Economics; LLM Columbia Law School; JSM Stanford Law School; MRes and PhD European University Institute

Research Areas: climate change; renewable energy; international trade; the European Union


Rafael is the Jean Monnet Chaired Professor of EU International Economic Law at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), holds the first ever Jean Monnet Chair in EU International Economic Law awarded in the UK by the European Commission, is Professor of European and International Economic Law, Program Director of the LLM in International Economic Law, and the former Director of Research at QMUL's Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS). He teaches, and is the convenor of, the courses WTO Law; International Economic Law; Trade, Climate Change and Energy: EU and international perspectives; International Trade and Investment Law of the EU; as well as the External Relations Law of the European Union in the LLM program. In addition, he teaches International Investment Law and Policy as well as Climate Change Law and Policy in the LLM programme.

Rafael has delivered keynote speeches and invited lectures at major conferences and policy-making events in the field of energy, such as: the International Energy Forum, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; on climate change, such as Yale Workshop on Trade and Climate Change, Yale University, 2017; 35th Round Table on Sustainable Development, OECD, Paris, 2017; Annual high-level conference of the Institut Francais des Rel. Int’les, Paris, 2013; and economic law, such as 3rd Bi-annual confer of the Society of Int’l Economic Law, National Uni Singapore, 2012; 4th European Society of International Law International Economic Law, Estonia, 2011; 10th Euro-Latin Network on Integration and Trade conference, Inter-American Development Bank, Milan, 2012; 10th Annual WTO Conference, Georgetown Law Center and the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, London, UK, 2010. Rafael has also delivered lectures at very well-known institutions such as Oxford University, 2018; the American Society of International Law, U.S., 2008; Harvard University, U.S., 2006; and the US Court of International Trade, New York, 2005.

In 2011-2013, he served as a Marie Curie COFIT Senior Research Fellow at the World Trade Institute (University of Bern) in the framework of the EU FP7 research fellowship programme. He has thrice been a Drapers' Award nominee for excellence in teaching. In 2008, Rafael was named the best teacher of the University of Vienna School of Law 2008 Summer School (NICLAS), of which Queen Mary University of London is a participant. From 2006-2009, he was Deputy Director of Graduate Studies at CCLS.

Rafael supervises LLM and PhD dissertations in his field of expertise. He successfully won several research grants, most notably a grant of EUR17 million as part of a consortium of 21 institutions for the WiseGRID project to work on renewable energy and smart grids, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program on research and innovation, where he serves as a principal investigator.

Rafael is the author of the books The Great Energy Transition in the European Union, Volume 1, (Eliva Press, 2020), The Great Energy Transition in the European Union, Volume 2, (Eliva Press, 2020), Solutions for Sustainability: How the international trade, energy and climate change regimes can help (Springer, 2019), EU Trade Law (Edward Elgar, 2019), Energy Security, Trade and the EU: Regional and International Perspectives (Edward Elgar, 2016), The European Energy Union: The quest for secure, affordable and sustainable energy (Claeys & Casteels Publishing, 2016), International Energy Governance: Selected Legal Issues(Edward Elgar, 2014), Climate Change and International Trade (Edward Elgar, 2013), International Trade and Investment Law: Multilateral, Regional and Bilateral Governance (Edward Elgar, 2010) and Theory and Practice of EC External Trade Law and Policy (Cameron May, 2008) and the editor or co-editor of The Future of International Economic Law and the Rule of Law (Eliva Press, 2020), EU Energy Law and Policy: The external dimension (Eliva Press, 2020), International Trade, Investment and the Rule of Law (Eliva Press, 2020), the Commentary on the Energy Charter Treaty (Edward Elgar, 2018), University Initiatives in Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation (Springer, 2018), and Research Handbook on EU energy law and policy (Edward Elgar, 2017).

He has authored more than 190 scholarly publications on international trade and WTO law, climate change law, EU law, international investment law, international energy law and governance and the interaction among them in American and European law reviews such as the Yale Journal of International Affairs, Columbia Journal of European Law, Georgetown Environmental Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, The George Washington International Law Review, Fordham International Law Journal, Chicago Journal of International Law, Legal Issues of Economic Integration, European Foreign Affairs Review and Journal of World Energy Law and Business (Oxford University Press). Rafael’s work has been cited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 5th Assessment Report.

In 2016, Rafael provided expert advice to the House of Lords on post-Brexit EU-UK trade agreements. Rafael serves as an expert of the group “Measures to Address Climate Change and the Trade System” in the framework of E15, an initiative jointly implemented by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and the World Economic Forum (WEF), which brings together “over 200 experts from academia, practitioners, business and former policy makers, in defining the ideas, strategies and scenarios for how the global trade system can meet the challenges and demands of the world economy and sustainable development today and in 2025.”

Rafael has been a Visiting Researcher at Yale Law School, Visiting Scholar at the World Trade Organization’s Trade and Environment Division, Visiting Scholar at Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (Abu Dhabi), Fellow at the Energy Community Secretariat, Global Research Fellow at New York University School of Law (Hauser Global Law School Program), Visiting Fellow at the World Trade Institute (University of Bern), Visiting Scholar at Georgetown University Law Center (Fellow at its Institute of International Economic Law), Tillar House Resident Fellow at the American Society of International Law, Visiting Researcher at Harvard Law School (European Law Research Center) and Fellow at the Real Colegio Complutense (Harvard University), Emile Noël Doctoral Fellow at New York University School of Law (Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law and Justice), Fellow at the Australian National University (National Europe Centre) and Visiting Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School (Institute for Legal Studies).

Rafael has previously taught at the Academy of WTO Law and Policy of Georgetown University Law Center (Washington, D.C.), the Korea National Diplomatic Academy (Korea), the University of Vienna School of Law Summer School (Austria), the National Law School of India University (Bangalore, India)—where he was POROS Chair in European Union law, and the Universidade Federal Minas Gerais School of Law (Brazil).

Rafael has been a visiting professor at Georgetown University Law Center (US), Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Nankai University (China), Northwestern Polytechnical University (Xi’an, China), University of Eastern Finland, University of Leuven, Bocconi University, Gujarat National Law University (India), Universidade Federal de Pernambuco School of Law (Brazil), Galatasaray University School of Law (Turkey), Kültür University (Turkey), University of Bahçesehir (Turkey), the Energy Charter Secretariat (Belgium), has trained senior energy professionals in Kazakhstan, and has been invited to train African policy-makers on trade and climate change. Rafael is also a Fellow of the Salzburg Seminar and has been the recipient of the Fulbright, the British Council and La Caixa scholarships. He has also been awarded major research grants funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program on research and innovation and a grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Rafael acted as a judge in the 4th annual International Moot Court competition at Gujarat National Law University (India), as a fellow at the Sustainable Energy for All Secretariat, Washington, D.C, as a legal consultant to the World Bank’s energy team, the Energy Charter Secretariat’s trade and transit department and the World Trade Organization's legal affairs division, has served in the United States Court of International Trade (Chambers of Judge Pogue), and has clerked at the European Court of Justice (Chambers of Advocate-General Kokott) as well as the Court of First Instance of the European Communities (Chambers of Judge Lindh). He was an intern at the European Commission General Secretariat (Forward Studies Unit) where he participated in the Young Leaders Summit 2000 (Okinawa, Japan), EU Council of Ministers Legal Service (External Relations Team), European Parliament General Secretariat (Directorate-General for Research), United Nations Secretariat (Economic and Social Council) and the European Commission Delegation to the United Nations.

He has presented papers at conferences in the US, Canada, Europe, the Far East, Africa, Oceania, Latin America, South East Asia, and the Middle East, serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Renewable Energy Law and Policy Review, is on the editorial board of European Energy Journal, Journal of Security Studies and Global Politics, Geopolitics under Globalization, and Asian Social Science Journal. He is a reviewer for several leading international journals as well as the university presses of Oxford and Cambridge. He is also a reviewer for major grants of research councils. Rafael has been invited to speak at OECD and G8 international conferences.

He is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of, inter alia, the journals the European Law JournalMelbourne Journal of International LawLondon Law ReviewAsian Social Science JournalLeiden Journal of Int’l LawJournal of International Dispute SettlementClimatic ChangeInternational Journal of CommunicationJournal of Int'l Commercial Law & TechnologyInternational Journal of Private LawGlobal Journal of Economics and Finance and Vienna Journal on International Constitutional Law.

Rafael is a member of the Society of International Economic Law, Society of Legal Scholars and the Asian Society of International Law. Between 2017 and 2020, Rafael served as a member of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law. Rafael has been quoted in and interviewed by the media in major newspapers, which shows the impact of his work beyond academia. Rafael was selected to present his research on climate change and trade at the Euroscience Open Forum 2012, July 2012, Dublin, Ireland. From 2008-2010, Rafael served as expert on EU law in the American Society of International Law.

Rafael completed his graduate legal education with a PhD and four Master’s degrees: a JSM from Stanford Law School, an LLM from Columbia Law School (where he obtained the Parker School Certificate for Achievement in International and Comparative Law), an MPhil from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a PhD as well as an MA in legal research from the European University Institute (Florence, Italy).

He completed his BA as well as his first law degree (LLB) at the universities of Granada (Spain), Regensburg (Germany), Bologna (Italy) and Angers (France).

He is a qualified attorney in Madrid and speaks English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Ladino and conversational Portuguese. Rafael swam in the Junior Olympics and ran the Brussels marathon.