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Member of the Durham Law School
PhD candidate in the Durham CELLS (Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences)


Ben’s background in teaching science and devising field ecology studies led him to become involved in action on climate change and climate litigation; in 2020 he completed an LLM in Environmental Law and Sustainable Development achieving the Edward Elgar Prize for highest overall performance. Alongside his LLM research, in 2020 he brought a case against Shell UK to the Small Claims Court on the grounds that they were "misrepresenting a carbon intensive product as being carbon neutral" (Mr Ben Hall v. Shell UK listing G4QZ3G03 [2021]). This participatory action provided the groundwork for his current PhD project. Alongside his research at Durham, Ben is a Research Associate at the University of the West of England and a Research Assistant at Swansea University working on Green Infrastructure provision in South Wales; he also returns to schools occasionally to teach chemistry.


Research interests

In his PhD Ben is developing legal participatory action research (PAR) as a methodology to identify and tackle weak climate governance, initially by challenging the legal legitimacy of environmental claims made of ‘tradable green certificates’ by domestic energy suppliers. In doing so he intends to highlight the ethical and logistical problems of using market mechanisms to tackle climate change. The project interrogates the legislative and regulatory framework, challenges spurious ‘green’ marketing claims in court and uses a novel ethnographic approach to analyse this process. In 2022 Ben was awarded a Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Scholarship in recognition of the unique approach adopted by his research. His work is situated in a critique of market-based instruments and advocates more robust climate governance within the energy sector, which accelerates decarbonisation of energy supply.