Virginie Barral

Staff details

Position Senior Lecturer
Department Law
Email V.Barral (
Virginie Barral

Virginie specialises in international law with a focus on environmental and global challenges. She is interested in issues of sustainability, environmental and climate justice, equity, biodiversity loss and natural resources, theories of sovereignty, and cultural identity.

Virginie holds a Ph.D from the European University Institute (Florence), and postgraduate degrees from University College London and Université Paris 2 Panthéon Assas.

Before joining Goldsmiths she was an Associate Professor and Associate Dean Research at Hertfordshire Law School. She has previously taught at Université Paris 5. Prior to this she has worked for the French Commission for Sustainable Development and as a legal expert in the Paris office of Eversheds LLP.

She is a member of the European Society of International Law, the Société Française pour le droit international and the Society of Legal Scholars, and is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Teaching and Supervision

Virginie has extensive experience teaching international law, human rights, EU Law, public law and international environmental law.

Postgraduate supervision

Virginie welcomes proposals for MPhil/PhD supervision on most aspects of public international law especially international environmental law, climate change law, natural resources, and the nexus between human rights and the environment.

  • LLB Law
  • LLB Law with Criminal Justice and Human Rights
  • LLB Law with Politics and Human Rights
  • MPhil/PhD Law

Publications and research outputs


Barral, Virginie. 2016. Le développement durable en droit international: Essai sur les incidences juridiques d’une norme évolutive. Brussels: Bruylant. ISBN 9782802752066

Book Section

Barral, Virginie. 2023. The contribution of equity to environmental peacebuilding. In: Daniëlla Dam-de Jong and Britta Sjöstedt, eds. Research Handbook on International Law and Environmental Peacebuilding. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 42-61. ISBN 9781789906912

Barral, Virginie and Fitzmaurice, Malgosia. 2021. The relationship between the law of international watercourses and sustainable development. In: M Fitzmaurice; P Merkouris and M Brus, eds. Research Handbook on International Environmental Law. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. ISBN 9781786439703

Barral, Virginie. 2021. Changements climatiques et culture: Quel rôle pour les droits humains? In: , ed. Face aux changements climatiques, le champs des possibles en Afrique. (2) St Ouen: Les Éditions du Net, pp. 111-122. ISBN 9782312080086

Barral, Virginie. 2020. Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Justice, Broadening the Notion of Responsibility in International Law. In: Hannes Hansen-Magnusson and Antje Vetterlein, eds. The Rise of Responsibility in World Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 125-144. ISBN 9781108867047

Barral, Virginie. 2019. Transports et droit international de l'environnement: en quête d'une approche intégrée? In: Saïda El Boudouhi, ed. Les transports au prisme du droit international public. Paris: Editions A. Pedone, pp. 123-138. ISBN 9782223009111

Barral, Virginie. 2018. The Principle of Sustainable Development. In: Ludwig Krämer and Emanuela Orlando, eds. Principles of Environmental Law. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 103-114. ISBN 9781785365652

Barral, Virginie. 2017. Sustainable development and equity in biodiversity conservation. In: Elisa Morgera and Jona Razzaque, eds. Biodiversity and Nature Protection Law. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 59-69. ISBN 9781783474240

Barral, Virginie. 2016. National sovereignty over natural resources: Environmental challenges and sustainable development. In: Elisa Morgera and Kati Kulovesi, eds. Research Handbook on International Law and Natural Resources. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 3-25. ISBN 9781783478323

Barral, Virginie. 2015. Retour sur la fonction du développement durable en droit international: de l’outil herméneutique à l’obligation de s’efforcer de parvenir au développement durable. In: Société Française pour le Droit International, ed. Droit international et développement. Paris: Editions A. Pedone, pp. 411-426. ISBN 9782233007469

Barral, Virginie and Dupuy, Pierre-Marie. 2015. Principle 4: Sustainable Development through Integration. In: Jorge E. Viñuales, ed. The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development: A Commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 157-180. ISBN 9780199686773

Barral, Virginie. 2009. Le rayonnement intra-systémique du concept de développement durable. In: Hélène Ruiz Fabri and Lorenzo Gradoni, eds. Emergence et circulation des concepts juridiques en droit international de l’environnement : entre mondialisation et fragmentation. Paris: LGDJ, pp. 371-396.

Barral, Virginie. 2009. L’affaire du Chemin de fer du Rhin de fer, entre fragmentation et unité du droit international. In: Hélène Ruiz Fabri and Lorenzo Gradoni, eds. Emergence et circulation des concepts juridiques en droit international de l’environnement : entre mondialisation et fragmentation. Paris: LGDJ, pp. 347-368.


Barral, Virginie and Fitzmaurice, Malgosia. 2023. Droit international et gouvernance de l’environnement. Annuaire français de relations internationales, 24, pp. 235-248.

Barral, Virginie. 2019. Sustainable Development's Function as an International Legal Norm: From Interpretation to Obligation of Means. Comparative Law Review, LIII(1), pp. 25-46. ISSN 0010-4116

Barral, Virginie. 2018. Towards Judicial Coordination for Good Water Governance? International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 67(4), pp. 931-959. ISSN 0020-5893

Barral, Virginie. 2012. Sustainable Development in International Law: Nature and Operation of an Evolutive Legal Norm. European Journal of International Law, 23(2), pp. 377-400. ISSN 0938-5428

Barral, Virginie. 2006. La sentence du Rhin de fer, une nouvelle étape dans la prise en compte du droit de l’environnement par la justice internationale. Revue Générale de Droit International Public, 110(3), pp. 649-668. ISSN 0373-6156

Barral, Virginie. 2003. Johannesburg 2002: Quoi de neuf pour le développement durable? Revue Générale de Droit International Public, 107(2), pp. 415-432. ISSN 0373-6156

Martor, Boris and Barral, Virginie. 2001. French Merger Regulation Regime. European Competition Law Review, 22(3), pp. 110-113. ISSN 0144-3054


Barral, Virginie and Dupuy, Pierre-Marie. 2019. Sustainable Development and Integration. Project Report. Cambridge Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance (C-EENRG), Cambridge.

Further profile content

Professional projects

In 2020 Virginie was appointed General Rapporteur for Distributive Justice and Sustainable Development by the International Academy of Comparative Law with Professor Okowa (QMUL).

Virginie is also a member of the International Group of Experts for the Global Pact Coalition, an accredited NGO with UNEP which feeds into the United Nations' work on a Global Pact for the Environment.