Lorenzo Cotula

Principal researcher and head of law, economies and justice programme, Natural Resources research group

Lorenzo Cotula's picture
Telephone: +44 (0)20 3463 7399
Languages: English, Italian and French

Lorenzo Cotula leads research and policy work on the place of law in strategies to promote fairer, more sustainable economies – cutting across land and natural resource governance; international economic law; law and transnational value chains; human rights; political economy of natural resources, trade and foreign investment; and legal empowerment, citizen agency and public accountability.

Cotula, who joined IIED in 2002, is also a visiting professor at the School of Law, University of Strathclyde.


Land and natural resource governance; economic law, particularly international investment law; human rights; responsible business conduct, particularly in agriculture and the extractive industries; small-scale producers and transnational value chains; legal, socio-legal and cross-disciplinary research methods; legal empowerment approaches; citizen participation in law reform. 

Before IIED

  • Research consultant to the Legal Office of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO)
  • Collaboration with two Italian NGOs.


  • Postgraduate certificate in sustainable business, University of Cambridge
  • PhD in law, University of Edinburgh
  • MSc in development studies (distinction), London School of Economics
  • Degree in law (cum laude), University "La Sapienza" of Rome

Current work

Lead on law, economies and justice, a collaborative programme on renegotiating the law to promote fairer, more sustainable economies.