Christopher Campbell-Duruflé

Study program:
International Law
Current affiliation:
University of Toronto

Christopher Campbell-Duruflé (international law, University of Toronto) analyzes how new rules of international law resulting from United Nations climate change negotiations might allow Canada and other international actors to respond to climate change in innovative ways.

The Legal Accountability of Parties to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

In December 2015, a resounding 196 nations endorsed the Paris Agreement aimed at protecting humanity and ecosystems against climate change harms. This compromise required more than 20 years of hard negotiations within the United Nations framework and the development of unique legal mechanisms aimed at decarbonizing the global economy. For example, the Paris Agreement grants each state Party the discretion to decide on its own level of greenhouse gas emissions reductions, calls on new actors like corporations and cities to be directly involved under the treaty, and relies chiefly on self-reporting to achieve compliance. Christopher’s research analyses the ways through which these mechanisms may progressively be changing the face of international law, from both a theoretical and a practical perspective. He examines these legal transformations from the perspective of whether they enable international actors broadly understood to hold state Parties accountable to the terms of the treaty.

Christopher Campbell-Duruflé is a researcher and an attorney specialised in international environmental and human rights law. He holds a joint bachelor’s in civil and common law from McGill University (2009) and a master’s in international human rights law from the University of Notre Dame (2014). Christopher is currently doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Professor Jutta Brunnée and an associate fellow at the Center for International Sustainable Development Law. He was awarded a Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarship.

Christopher’s doctoral research will contribute to the development of international law by providing a critical analysis of the innovative mechanisms aimed at decarbonizing the global economy that have emerged through years of international negotiations. In December 2015, Christopher was officially accredited an observer to the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Since 2016, he has engaged in the climate negotiations as a member of the official delegation of Burkina Faso.

Christopher was co-chair of the University of Toronto’s Responsible Investment Committee, which advises the university’s administration on the consideration of extra-financial risks in its investment policies. He has contributed to briefs presented to the Government of Canada on its Sustainable Development Strategy, to the Quebec National Assembly on the topics of homelessness and the freedom of religion of public sector workers, and to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

In 2013-2014, Christopher interned with the Geneva office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and was a fellow attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in Washington, DC. He also participated in the hearings of the case of Nadège Dorzema et al. v. Dominican Republic before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights as attorney for the International Clinic for the Defense of Human Rights based at Université du Québec à Montréal. Christopher has worked for Lawyers Without Borders Canada in Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, and Colombia, where he founded “Caminos de compromiso” (Engaged Destinies). This web platform presents life-story interviews with Colombian human rights defenders to honour their courage. His own story was included in the Human Rights Defenders gallery at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg.