Aleksandra joined Queen’s University, Faculty of Law as PhD student in September 2018. She received a Jurist degree (civil specialization) from Russian State Social University, LL.B (Hons) from the University of London and LL.M (Air & Space Law) from McGill University. After being qualified to practise law and before returning to academia, Aleksandra obtained practical experience in intellectual property law (working as counsel in the creative marketing industry) as well as in international air law (working as paralegal in civil aviation industry). During her graduate studies, she interned at the Legal Bureau of one of the United Nations’ specialized agencies (ICAO) and worked as research and teaching assistant at McGill and then Queen’s. 
 
Drawing on her LL.M Thesis’ finding that the interests of humankind and maintenance of international rule of law are threatened by increasing manifestations of the rule of power, she sought to further explore the field of public international law. At Queen’s, her concentration is in international environmental law with specific focus on climate change and [plastic] marine pollution problems. Aleksandra develops a case for existence of a ‘global environment trust’ that arises by operation of general principles of law (one of the sources of international law under article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice). The said principle confirms (i) equitable rights of humankind (as the beneficiaries) in the corpus of the trust and in its due administration by States; (ii) fiduciary duties of States as the joint trustees of the trust. Through her work Aleksandra hopes to advance the legal protection of the global environment from degradation for present and future generations of humankind.

Recent Professional Achievements

Featured Publication:

Aleksandra Balyasnikova-Smith, Book Review of “Space Law and Policy in the Post-Soviet States” by Natalia R. Malysheva, 43 Annals of Air & Space L. (2018) [forthcoming in 2019]

Featured Conference Presentation:

Aleksandra Balyasnikova-Smith, “A Case for Humankind as Subject of International Law” (Presentation delivered at the McGill Graduate Law Conference, McGill Faculty of Law, 9 May 2019) [unpublished]

Graduate Students