Aleksandra Balyasnikova-Smith successfully defended her dissertation and completed the requirements for the Ph.D. degree in Law in the Fall Semester of 2022.

Aleksandra (Sasha) joined Queen’s Law as a Ph.D. student in September 2018. Here she developed and defended a case for global environment trust, which clarifies the nature and content of duties of States owed toward humankind with respect to the global environment.

She is grateful to her Supervisor, Professor Noah Weisbord, Professors Joshua Karton and Ardi Imseis of the Thesis Supervisory Committee, and Professors Myra Hird and Alexandra Harrington of the Thesis Examination Committee.

Prior to Queen’s, Aleksandra earned 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. Trained in both civil and common law jurisdictions, Aleksandra practiced as counsel in the intellectual property field and worked as a paralegal in the international civil aviation field before returning to academia. While pursuing graduate studies, she interned with the Legal Bureau of the International Civil Aviation Organization and worked as a research and teaching assistant at McGill and Queen’s.

Drawing on one of the findings of her master’s thesis that the interests of humankind and the maintenance of international rule of law in outer space had been endangered by the increasing manifestations of the rule of power, she sought to further scrutinize the areas of common concern for the international community. At Queen’s, she focused on international environmental law, examining global environmental governance through a trust-based (fiduciary) approach. To clarify the nature and content of duties of States owed toward humankind, Aleksandra developed and defended a case for global environment trust through a systematic ascertainment and application of the general principle of trust to the management of the global environment.