Dr Mingzhe Zhu

  • Lecturer in Just Transition (School of Law)


Mingzhe Zhu is a Lecturer in Just Transition. After the completion of a double bachelor degree in law and public administration at China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL), he turned to legal theory and focused on the laicisation of legal thoughts for her LLM at the same university that he always holds dear. He defended his doctoral dissertation on the transformations of French civil law doctrine in the 19th and 20th centuries at Sciences Po (2015). Inspired by the Paris climate conference, Mingzhe began to investigate the role of law in environmental changes from historical, empirical, and theoretical perspectives. His previous works explore the social and environmental impacts of modern law and legal thoughts in different historical and spatial contexts. Mingzhe is currently working on legal and institutional changes in the Anthropocene.

Prior to his appointment at the University of Glasgow, he was Qian Duansheng Distinguished Associate Professor at CUPL and Senior Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Antwerp. He has also held visiting positions in France, Italy, Poland, Croatia, and the United States.

Research interests

Mingzhe’s research focuses on the links between political authority, science, and nature in the Anthropocene, with particular attention to challenging State violence and extractivist capitalism. Integrating radical political ecology in legal studies, he is committed to identifying the root causes of contemporary social and environmental disasters and exploring the transformations of law in the pursuit of a more sustainable future. 

Current research agendas:

-Conceptualising just transition

-Legal and epistemological authority in environmental governance


Previous projects:

China: A (not so) Gentle Ecological Civiliser

Using ethnographic methods, this project critically examines how Eco-civilisation (EC) and its socio-legal structure function as mechanisms of knowledge and power. It argues that EC operates as a project of cognitive and socio-political transformation, imposing a homogenous view of sustainability by creating a distinction between the “ecologically civilised,” “uncivilised,” and “civilisers”.

Making Sense of the Struggles for Equity in Energy Transitions

This project engages with studies on equitable climate policy and aims to reveal experiences within energy transitioning and the meaning given by actors to the deeds of their struggles. It compares two failing transition-policy: the 2018 carbon-tax augmentation in France and the 2017 coal ban in China. The dynamics of these projects illustrate two approaches to adjusting the management of social and emission inequality by law.

Grand Tour of French Law and Legal Thoughts in China (1877-1952)

This project provides a detailed investigation of legal transplant that highlights the strategic interactions of actors involved in foreign law reception and legal modernisation.


List by: Type | Date


Natural Resources Defense Council Research Fund (6,000 euros, 2024)

Foundation-Flanders (183,000 euros, 2020-2023)

Make Our Planet Great Again (30,000 euros, rewarded but declined due to other commitments)

Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange Grant (3,400 euros, 2019)

CUPL Advanced Research Grant (28,000 euros, 2018-2023)

Chinese Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (28,000 euros, 2017-2020)

CUPL research Starting Grant (4,000 euros, 2016)

Chinese Scholarship Council Doctoral Scholarship (58,000 euros, 2011-2015)


Mingzhe welcomes enquiries from prospective research students interested in law and environmental governance, climate law, critical legal theory, and more broadly, comparative legal culture.

Ms Liyuan Fan (CUPL & Aix-Marseille University): The Co-production of Scientific and Judicial Authorities in Climate Litigation

Mr Jakub Zwierzchowski (Co-supervisor, University of Silesia): Sustainability in Private Law

Additional information

Mingzhe is the Chief Editor of the Law and Culture Series at the Commercial Press. He is also editorial board member of several peer-reviewed journals.


Prizes & Awards

Award of Research Excellence, CUPL

Qian Duansheng Distinguished Young Scholar Award

Most Inspiring Teachers, CUPL

Sun Guohua Award for Philosophy of Law, China Law Society

Lecturer of the Year, CUPL

First Award for Comparative Law, China Law Society


Learned Societies

Secretary General, Chinese branch of the Association Henri-Capitant

Adjunct Secretary General, Chinese Society of Comparative Law