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dr. M.M.E. (Marlies) Hesselman

Assistant Professor International Law
Profile picture of dr. M.M.E. (Marlies) Hesselman

Dr. Marlies Hesselman is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Transboundary Legal Studies of the Faculty of Law, teaching mostly in the areas of public international law, international environmental law, climate law and human rights . She holds an LLB in Dutch Law from Leiden University, two LLMs in International Law (cum laude), spec. human rights, and European Law, spec. human rights, and a PhD in international law from Gronining University on the topic of 'Human Rights and Access to Modern Energy Services' .

From 2018-2022, Marlies was co-lead in EU COST Action ENGAGER: European Energy Poverty: Knowledge Innovation and Agenda Co-Creation for Working Group 3 on "Co-producing Emancipatory Research and Practice". ENGAGER was an interdisciplinary network of over 200 European academics and practioners working on Energy Poverty in Europe, funded by the EU Cooperation on Science and Technology Scheme (project size approx. €550.000). As part of ENGAGER, Marlies led and co-produced the novel COVID-19 Global Energy Map, a major visual database of 380+ emergency energy poverty policies adopted in 120+ countries around the world during the pandemic. The map's method and initial findings were published in Energy Research & Social Sciences.

In 2023, Marlies co-authored the first evidence-based analysis of the new phenomenon of 'Just Transition Litigation', together with fellow-members of Columbia Law School's Global Peer Network on Climate Litigation of the Sabin Centre for Climate Law. In 2022, Marlies wrote the entry on the 'Right to Energy' in the Elgar Encyclopedia on Human Rights.

Marlies publishes widely in her areas of interest with leading publishers such as CUP, OUP, Routledge, Elgar and Brill, in both legal and non-legal publications, e.g. Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, NJB, Energy Research and Social Sciences, Sustainabe Development, and BMJ (IF. 96). From 2015-2016, she acted as lead-editor of the volume 'Socio-Economic Human Rights in Essential Public Services Provision' (Routledge, 2017). From 2017-2023, she was one of the founding co-editors of the new Yearbook of International Disaster Law (Brill Nijhoff). In 2020, Marlies co-authored the influential TNO White Paper on Energy Poverty and the Energy Transition in the Netherlands which has been the basis for the development of novel indicators for energy poverty measurement in the Netherlands.

More information about past and ongoing research projects.

Google Scholar page.

Research areas: 

  • Socio-economic human rights law
  • Universal access to modern, affordable, reliable energy access (SDG 7.1)
  • Right to Energy
  • Energy poverty/Energy justice/Just Transition
  • Human rights and climate change, air pollution and environment
  • Climate change litigation and human rights
  • International climate and environmental law
  • Human rights and disaster management
  • Human rights and corporate actors

Academic networks:

  • Scientific Steering Committee of the Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health (2022-present)
  • GLOTHRO Visiting Scholar at London School of Economics (LSE), Centre for the Study of Human Rights, Laboratory for Advanced Research on the Global Economy (funded by European Science Foundation, fall 2013).

Prior non-academic work experience:

Marlies enjoys engaging with practice and values the societal impact of her research. During and after her law studies Marlies gained practical working experience in both government and NGO sectors by interning at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the EU Delegation in China, Beijing, (Development Cooperation sections), and at the Beijing office of international NGO 'International Bridges to Justice' by managing projects on criminal justice reforms. In the Netherlands, she acted as legal advisor at the International Law Division (DJZ) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs', and advised refugees & asylumseekers at Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland (Dutch Refugee Council). She has been an active member of the Dutch Section of the International Commission of Jurists, the NJCM, acting on several ocassions as coordinator of shadow reports and as an NGO-coalition representative to various sessions of the UN Human Rights Council (2012) and the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (2009-2010 and 2016-2017). Marlies chaired the WG on International Human Rights Protection from 2011-2013.


Marlies works are widely cited, and several of her publications were informed and cited by UN human rights monitoring bodies: e.g. drafts of CEDAW's General Comment 37 on Disaster Risk Reduction in a Changing Climate (2018); annual report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food on "Right to Food and Natural Disasters" (2018); studies of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights related to 'Human Rights and the Environment' (2011) 'Human Rights in Post-Disaster Settings' (2014) and 'The Right to Health and Climate Change' (2015-2016). Nationally, Marlies wrote about the human rights implications of the gas extraction in Groningen province and related earthquakes. Her earlier work on 'human rights and disasters' was quoted in this respect by the Dutch National Human Rights Institute.


Edited volumes

1. Hesselman, Hallo de Wolf, Toebes (eds), 'Socio-Economic Human Rights in Essential Public Services Provision' (Routledge, 2017) (Google Books)      

2. Bartolini, Cubie, Hesselman and Peel (eds) 'Yearbook of International Disaster Law' (Vol. I (2018), Brill Publishers, 2019) (see here)     

3. Bartolini, Cubie, Hesselman and Peel (eds) 'Yearbook of International Disaster Law' (Vol. II (2019), Brill Publishers, 2020) see here)    

4. Bartolini, Cubie, Hesselman and Telesetsky (eds) 'Yearbook of International Disaster Law' (Vol. III (2020), Brill Publishers (2021), open access)   

Edited Journal Special Issues      

5. Hesselman and Rachovitsa, 'Special Issue: International Law for the Sustainable Development Goals', BRILL Open Law: An International Journal  (2020) (open access).       

6.  Toebes, Hesselman, Van Dijk, Mierau, 'Special Collection: Curbing the Lifestyle Disease Pandemic: Engaging in a Transdisciplinary Research Agenda for Effective Interventions', BMC International Health and Human Rights (2020) still open for additional submissions, see (open access).    

including editorials:   

-  Toebes, Hesselman, Mierau, Van Dijk (2020) 'A Renewed Call for Transdisciplinary Action on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)' , BMC International Health and Human Rights, 1-6 (open access)    

- Rachovitsa and Hesselman (2020) 'Introduction to the Special Issue: International Law for the Sustainable Development Goals', Brill Open Law 2, 1-6 (open access)   

Journal articles (refereed)

7. Feenstra, Middlemiss, Hesselman, Straver, Tirado Herrero (2021) 'Humanising the Energy Transition: Towards a National Policy on Energy Poverty in the Netherlands', Front. Sustain. Cities 3:645624. doi: 10.3389/frsc.2021.645624 (open access)

8. Hesselman, Varo, Guyet, Thomson (2021) 'Energy Poverty in the COVID-Era: Mapping Global Responses to the Pandemic in Light of Momentum on the Universal Right to Energy', 18 Energy Research and Social Sciences. (open access)    

9. Diestelmeier and Hesselman (2018) 'De Positie van Huishoudelijke Consumenten in het EU Winterpakket: Tussen participeren en beschermen'  [The position of household consumers in the EU Winter Package: Between Participation and Protection] Nederlands Tijdschrift for Energierecht 1/2, 31-40.    

10. Hesselman and Lane (2017), 'Disasters and Non-State Actors: A Human Rights-Based Approach', Disaster Prevention and Management 26(5), 526-539 (open access)

11. Lane and Hesselman (2017), 'Governing Disasters: Embracing Human Rights Law in a Multi-Level, Multi-Actor Governance Sphere', Governance and Politics 5(2), 93-104 (open access)

12. Hesselman and Toebes (2017), 'Adopting New International Health Instruments – What Can We Learn From the FCTC?; Comment on “The Legal Strength of International Health Instruments - What It Brings to Global Health Governance?' International Journal of Health Policy and Management 6, 1-4 (open access)

13. Toebes, Hesselman, van Dijk, Herman (2017) 'Curbing the Lifestyle Disease Pandemic: Making Progress on an Interdisciplinary Research Agenda for Law and Policy Interventions' BMC International Health and Human Rights 17(25) 1-5 (open access)

14. Brouwer en Hesselman (2015), 'Gaswinning en het Recht op Veiligheid', Nederlands Juristenblad (NJB), afl. 26, 1716-1723 (open access)

15. Cubie and Hesselman (2015) 'Accountability for the Human Rights Implications of Natural Disasters: A Proposal for Systemic International Oversight', Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights 33(1), 9-41. (SSRN access)

16. Hesselman (2013) 'Establishing a Full 'Cycle of Protection for Disaster Victims: Preparedness, Response and Recovery according to Regional and International Human Rights Supervisory Bodies', Tilburg Law Review 18(2), 106-132 (open access)

17. Hesselman (2013) 'Sharing International Responsiblity for the Protection of Poor Migrants? An Analysis of Extra-territorial Socio-Economic Human Rights Law, European Journal of Social Security 15(2), 187-208 (open access)        

Book chapters:
18. Hesselman (2022) 'Right to Energy', in Hofbauer, Binder, Philipp, and Nowak (eds) Elgar Encyclopedia on Human Rights (Edward Elgar)    

19. Hesselman and Cubie (2022) 'Natural Disasters' in Hofbauer, Binder, Philipp, and Nowak (eds) Elgar Encyclopedia on Human Rights (Edward Elgar)    

20. Hesselman (2021) 'Climate Change as a Global Health Threat in International Climate Law and Human Rights Law, in Toebes et al, Global Health Law Disrupted: COVID-19 and the Climate Crisis (TMC Asser, Preadviezen No. 148) 87-130 (open access).     

21. Hesselman (2021) 'Energy Poverty and Household Electricity Access in International, Regional and National Law' in Roggekamp et al ,'Encyclopedia on Energy Law, Climate Change and the Environment' (Edward Elgar) 695-706 (SSRN access)   

22. Hesselman (2021) 'EU Climate Law and Human Rights' in Woerdman et al, Essential EU Climate Law (Edward Elgar, 2nd ed.) 259-292 (Google books).    

23. Hesselman (2021) 'Domestic Climate Litigation’s Turn to Human Rights and International Climate Law' in: Merkouris, Fitzmaurice and Brus (eds), Research Handbook on International Environmental Law (Edward Elgar, 2nd ed) 369-393.     

24. Hesselman (2020). 'International Disaster Law in Practice 2019: International Human Rights Law' Yearbook of International Disaster Law Vol. 1 (Brill Nijhoff) 463-473 (open access)    25. Hesselman and Brouwer (2019), 'De gaswinning en het recht op veiligheid' in Oldenhuis et al (eds) Monografieen Privaatrecht: Juridische aspecten van gaswinning Een 'Groningse' Verkenning', Wolters Kluwer, 23-50.  

26. Hesselman (2019), 'Human Rights Law: International Disaster Law in Practice 2018:  ', Yearbook of International Disaster Law Vol. 1 (Brill Nijhoff) 398-408 (open access)   

27. Hesselman (2018) ' International Environmental Law: International Disaster Law in Practice 2018', Yearbook of International Disaster Law Vol. 1 (Brill Nijhoff) 436-444 (open access)    

28. Hesselman (2019) 'Access to Disaster Risk Information, Early Warning and Education and Awareness: Implementing the Sendai Framework through International Human Rights Law' in Katja Samuel and Marie Aronsson-Storrier, International Law and Disaster Risk Reduction (Cambridge University Press, 2019) 188-215.       

29. Hesselman (2018) 'A Right to International (Humanitarian) Assistance in Times of Disaster: Fresh Perspectives from International Human Rights Law' in Flavia Giustianini et al, Routledge Handbook on Human Rights and Disasters (Routledge, 2018) 65-86.     

30. Gispen, Hesselman en Toebes (2018)  'De rol en potentie van het internationaal recht in het reguleren van ongezond gedrag: mogelijke aanvullende internationale standaarden omtrent (on)gezond voedsel en alcohol in het licht van tabaksontmoediging' [The role and potential of international law to regulate unhealthy behaviour] in Keirse et al., Ongezond en (on)geoorloofd? Publiek- en privaatrecht & legale maar gezondheidsbedreigende producten en diensten (Boom Juridische Uitgevers 2018)       

31. Hesselman, Hallo de Wolf, Toebes (2017), 'Common Challenges for Socio-Economic Human Rights and Essential Public Services Provision' in Hesselman et al, Socio-Economic Human Rights in Essential Public Services Provision (Routledge 2017)     

32. Hesselman, Hallo de Wolf, Toebes (2017)  'International Guideposts for Socio-Economic Human Rights in Essential Public Services Provision' in Hesselman et al, Socio-Economic Human Rights in Essential Public Services Provision (Routledge 2017)

33. Hesselman (2014) 'Regional Human Rights Regimes and Humanitarian Obligations of States in the Event of Disaster' in Zwitter et al, Humanitarian Action: Global, Regional and Domestic Legal Responses to Local Challenges (Cambridge University Press 2014) 202-227.          

34. Hesselman (2014) 'Realizing Universal Access to Modern Energy Services: Avenues for Private-Stakeholder Accountability in International Human Rights Law and Governance' in McCann et al, When Private Actors Contribute to Public Interests (Eleven International Publishing 2014) 107-130.

Policy reports and briefs

35. Straver, Mulder, Middlemiss, Hesselman, Feenstra and Tirado (2020) 'Energy Poverty and the Energy Transition in the Netherlands' (TNO White Paper, October 2020) (in Dutch and English)    

36. Hesselman and Tirado Herrero (eds) (2020) 'New Narratives and Actors for Citizen-led Energy Poverty Dialogues' (ENGAGER Policy Brief No. 4, September 2020) via:    

37. Middlemiss et al (2020) 'Making the Most of Qualitative Evidence for Energy Poverty Mitigation: A Research Agenda and Call for Action' (ENGAGER Policy Brief No. 3, February 2020) via:   

38. Hesselman, Varo and Laakso (2019), 'The Right to Energy in the European Union' (ENGAGER Policy Brief No. 2, June 2019) via:                   

39. Kruseman, Hoekstra, Ooms and Hesselman (2016), 'Joint Parallel Report to the Sixth Periodic Report of the Netherlands on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (E/C.12/NLD/6)' via:     

40. Hesselman and Toebes (2015), 'The Human Right to Health and Climate Change: A Legal Perspective', Input to UN OHCHR Study / GHLG Working Paper, via:        

41. Hesselman (2013), 'Geluidshinder en het Recht op Eerbiediging van Privé-en Gezinsleven', Journaal Geluid, online.   

42. Hesselman & van de Venis (2011), 'Human Rights and the Environment', Input to UN OHCHR Study / NJCM report, via:           

43. Hesselman and Bots (2009-2010), 'Civil Society Shadow Report to the Netherlands Periodic State Report on the Implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights', NJCM report, via:              

Last modified:01 November 2023 2.48 p.m.