‘Legal Frontiers’: the New Podcast from PKU School of Transnational Law

Soundcloud page of the Legal Frontiers podcast

“Hello and welcome to the Legal Frontiers podcast from the School of Transnational Law of Peking University. Our podcast is dedicated to research-based analysis of the interface between law and the transnational challenges of our time.

— Professor Stephen Minas, ep. 3 “International Cleantech Cooperation” 

In April 2020, the Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL) launched the first podcast in its history, ‘Legal Frontiers’. The project is led by Assistant Professor Stephen Minas and aims to be a platform to discuss developments and practices in transnational law. It will dig into the most pressing global issues, including climate change, new technologies, public health, trade relationships and transnational legal disputes, and provide expert analysis and current insights. 

A Look into ‘Legal Frontiers’

To get a taste for the content, here is a brief look at the first episode.

Currently, the world’s attention is clearly focused on the impact of COVID-19. ‘Legal Frontiers’ tackled this topic in the first episode.

In the first episode, STL professors Mark Feldman and Stephen Minas talked about how COVID-19 may impact transnational arbitration. Professor Feldman shared his view that arbitration in 2020 has to face the reality and use digital technologies to work remotely. 

In regards to substantive law, Professor Feldman offered some preliminary thoughts on international investment law and international investment dispute resolution. He predicted that there will be legal challenges to the special measures governments implement, but governments will point to the gravity of the situation and the need to have flexibility to defend these changes.

Professor Feldman also talked about his newly published paper, “Connectivity & Decoupling —— Belt & Road Dispute Resolution in a fractured trade environment.” In it, he takes a close look at the two competing forces of China and the United States. The United States is decoupling. While at the same time, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is developing and the core policy driving the initiative is connectivity, which encompasses bringing different jurisdictions and institutions together. China is working to achieve greater connectivity through infrastructure development.

On the topic of dispute resolution, Professor Feldman said the Belt & Road Initiative is giving rise to disputes and many international arbitration institutions are focusing on BRI disputes. For example, the ICC published specific guidance on mediation concerning BRI disputes. Professor Feldman said he believes mediation will play a very important role in dispute resolution.

Interview with Professor Minas

Professor Stephen Minas

Professor Minas’s research concerns novel transnational processes of law, policy and dispute resolution that address the emerging sustainable economy, and focuses on the nexus of climate change, finance, energy and technology. Before joining STL, he was a visiting lecture at King’s College London and an adviser to the Premier of the Australian state of Victoria. In April 2020, Professor Minas was elected as the new vice-chair of the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) of the UN Climate Change. 

Here, we were very honored to have an interview with Professor Minas.

1) What is the new podcast?

“The podcast is a platform for research-based analysis of how law interacts with major transnational challenges. Early episodes have featured interviews with STL resident faculty. My expectation is that the format will broaden so that we are also broadcasting guest lectures, panel discussions and other material relevant to transnational law.”

2) Why did you decide on a podcast over other forms of media?

“The podcast is a very versatile form of media. People can listen while they are travelling, exercising etc, and the episodes can be as short or as long as necessary. STL already has other social media accounts, so a podcast is not an alternative to these, but an addition.”

3) What do you hope this podcast can accomplish and what motivates you?

“I hope that the podcast shares some of the research of the STL community with a wider audience, and also starts some interesting dialogues with the broader community of people working on or interested in transnational law. One of the motivations of the podcast is to communicate the creativity of our academic community to new audiences.”

4) Do you feel that STL is at a ‘Legal Frontier’? How does this make STL different from other law schools?


“STL sits on a number of legal frontiers. Its legal diversity certainly makes STL different from most other law schools. At its best, STL fosters a culture of encounter between different legal cultures and traditions, within a context of academic freedom.”

5) Just as you said in the podcast, we are experiencing an unprecedented moment, how do you think this pandemic will affect law in the future?


“The pandemic’s effects on law are already uncountable. Just think of the changes to business practices when so much of working life moves into the virtual world, and in turn what this means for contracts, property, data law etc. The effects on public law, public administration and international law are equally dramatic. Countries which have lived under ‘states of exception’ for months will not emerge unchanged.”

Professor Minas moderating the June Momentum for Climate Change Virtual Event of the TEC

6) You were recently elected as the vice-chair of the Technology Executive Committee of the UN Climate Change, what will be your responsibilities in that position? Do you think working at STL has prepared you in some way for taking on a global role like this?


“As Vice-Chair of the Technology Executive Committee (TEC), I share the responsibility for facilitating the committee with our Chair, help to represent the TEC to other organisations, and also participate in the committee’s work in my individual capacity. I think an academic role, particularly one which allows a focus on international law, is very useful preparation for working on a body such as the TEC.”

7) You have a very impressive but also very diverse and unique work portfolio, how do you decide on which career directions to go and what projects to take on?


“As Vice-Chair of the Technology Executive Committee (TEC), I share the responsibility for facilitating the committee with our Chair, help to represent the TEC to other organisations, and also participate in the committee’s work in my individual capacity. I think an academic role, particularly one which allows a focus on international law, is very useful preparation for working on a body such as the TEC.”

Listen to the Podcast

Hear much more insight from STL professors and special guests and deepen your understanding of transnational law by becoming a regular listener. Your engagement can help the project grow!

Check out all the episodes and stay up to date with the latest content through various podcast platforms.

China: 喜马拉雅 (Ximalaya app)

International: Soundcloud

Peking University School of Transnational Law Building

Writer: Daisy Xia


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