Caroline Foster


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Associate Professor


Dr. Caroline Foster's field is public international law.  Her current research project is on the role of the international judge and arbitrator in relation to States' regulatory powers and obligations in the fields of the environment, health and public morals. The project is supported by a grant from the Marsden Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand. 

Dr. Foster was a formerly a legal adviser at the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She graduated from the Andres Bello Chilean Diplomatic Academy as a foreign diplomat, and worked as a legal and policy advisor with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the 1990s. She was involved in a wide range of international legal issues, including United Nations legal issues and the work of the International Law Commission. On the environmental side she was involved in the Kyoto Protocol and the Cartagena Biosafety Protocol on the safe transfer and handling of living modified organisms. She also served as a New Zealand representative at international negotiations in a number of different areas of international law, and worked at the New Zealand High Commission in London.  Her previous monograph  'Science, Proof and Precaution in International Courts and Tribunals: Expert Evidence, Burden of Proof and Finaliity' (Cambridge University Press, 2011, reprinted 2013) was cited by Judges Simma and Al-Khasawneh in the International Court of Justice in the Case Concerning Pulp Mills (Argentina v Uruquay) and by counsel in Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v Japan).   Dr. Foster has visited the Lauterpacht Research Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge a number of times as a Visiting Fellow. She has also done work in the NGO sector in the United Kingdom and for the British Institute of International and Comparative Law.  

Dr. Foster holds an LLM (first class) and PhD from the University of Cambridge.  She is interested to supervise Honours, Masters and Doctoral dissertations on topics in the areas of: (a) trade and environment;  (b) international environmental law & harm to shared resources, including environmental oceans issues;  (c) science and international law;  (d) the relationships between domestic New Zealand law and international environmental law; and (e) international dispute settlement.

Research | Current

International environmental law, harm to common spaces/interests and the law on transboundary harm.

Practical issues arising at the intersection between the international legal fields of trade &/or investment, and the law of the sea &/or the environment.

Public interests and private actors in international law.

Public law concepts in international adjudication and arbitration.

International courts’ and tribunals’ delineation of States’ regulatory powers and duties in the environmental and health spheres.

Teaching | Current

LAWPUBL 402 Public International Law

LAWPUBL 421 Advanced International Law

LAWPUBL 432 International Economic Regulation

LAWPUBL 435 Law of the Sea and Antarctica

LAWPUBL 726 Public International Law (LLM)

LAW 211 Public Law

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Foster, C. E. (2016). Methodologies and Motivations: Was Japan’s Whaling Programme for Purposes of Scientific Research?. In M. Fitzmaurice, D. Tamada (Eds.) Whaling in the Antarctic: Significance and Implications of the ICJ Judgment (pp. 9-37). Brill/Nijhoff. 10.1163/9789004313828_003
  • Foster, C. (2015). A new stratosphere? Investment treaty arbitration as 'internationalized public law'. International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 64 (2), 461-485. 10.1017/S0020589315000135
  • Foster, C. E. (2015). Proportionality and deference in investor-state arbitration: Balancing investment protection and regulatory autonomy by Caroline Henckels [Book review]. New Zealand Yearbook of International Law, 13, 347-354.
  • Foster, C. E. (2014). Diminished ambitions? Public international legal authority in the transnational economic era. Journal of International Economic Law, 17 (2), 355-397. 10.1093/jiel/jgu017
  • Foster, C. E. (2012). International adjudication - Standard of review and burden of proof: Australia-Apples and Whaling in the Antarctic. Review of European Community and International Environmental Law, 21 (2), 80-91. 10.1111/j.1467-9388.2012.00742.x
  • Foster, C. E. (2012). Adjudication, Arbitration and the Turn to Public Law ‘Standards of Review’: Putting the Precautionary Principle in the Crucible. Journal of International Dispute Settlement, 3 (3), 525-558. 10.1093/jnlids/ids013
  • Foster, C. E. (2011). Science and the Precautionary Principle in International Courts and Tribunals. Cambridge University Press. Pages: 408.
  • Foster, C. E. (2008). Public opinion and the interpretation of the world trade organisations agreement on sanitary and phytosanitary measures. JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC LAW, 11 (2), 427-458. 10.1093/jiel/jgn011

Contact details

Primary office location

17 EDEN CRESCENT - Bldg 803
Level 2, Room 216
New Zealand