SUNY Buffalo Law Links - February 2016

A student paper wins State Bar honors

Julia H. Purdy

Where does the right to water fit into the law? A dispute between India and Pakistan over diverting river water to run a hydroelectric plant led to a landmark 2013 ruling by the Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration. Now a recent SUNY Buffalo Law graduate’s paper on the dispute is being honored by the New York State Bar Association’s International Section.

Julia H. Purdy ’15 wrote the paper – titled “The Right to Water in International Arbitration: A Narrow Case Study of the Kishenganga Arbitration” – for an independent study course in summer 2015, and revised it for the International Section’s Albert S. Pergam International Law Writing Competition. She was announced as the winner at the section’s annual meeting in January. The award comes with a $2,000 prize and the promise of publication.

“The independent study was about the human right to water and its role in the world of international arbitration,” Purdy says. “I used the Kishenganga Arbitration as a case study to look at this relationship.”

As the academic year began, Professor Meredith Kolsky Lewis encouraged her to revise the paper and enter it in the competition. “Professor Lewis was really great to work with to prepare the paper,” Purdy says. 

“The main argument in the paper is that the right to water must be taken into greater consideration in international arbitration, and the law more generally. Although seemingly disparate at first glance, the paper attempts to highlight that water and arbitration have an important relationship; and in fact, their relationship will only grow in the future as water scarcity and related water conflicts are predicted.”

“I tried to communicate the importance of water, which I believe is undoubtedly one of the most important issues facing the world today. Throughout law school I have been interested in these areas of law, and I was glad to have an opportunity to explore these interests further.”