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Liz Fisher

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Reader in Environmental Law

Liz Fisher, BA/LLB (UNSW), D Phil (Oxon) is a Reader in Environmental Law at Corpus Christi College and UL lecturer in the Faculty of Law. She researches in the areas of environmental law, risk regulation and administrative law. Much of her work has explored the interrelationship between law, administration and regulatory problems. Her work has an important comparative dimension and she focuses in particular on these issues in the legal cultures of the UK, US, Australia, the EU, and the WTO. Her 2007 book, Risk Regulation and Administrative Constitutionalism, won the SLS Peter Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship 2008. Recent work has focused on the problems created by interdisciplinarity in regulatory decision-making including the use of models in environmental regulation and the operational consequences of transparency in administrative law. She won an Oxford University Teaching Award in 2009 and was shortlisted for OUP National Law Teacher of the Year Award 2011. She is General Editor of the Journal of Environmental Law and has served as the editor of the Legislation and Reports Section of the Modern Law Review. Fisher convenes the environmental law courses in the Faculty and from October 2013 is Vice-Chair of the Law Board of the Law Faculty.



Publications

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Journal Articles

2013

Sidney Shapiro and E Fisher, 'Chevron and the Legitmacy of Public Administration' (2013) 22 William and Mary Bill of Rights Law Journal 465

E Fisher, 'Climate Change Litigation, Obsession and Expertise: Reflecting on the Scholarly Response to Massachusetts v EPA' (2013) 39 Law and Policy 236 [...]

DOI: 10.1111/lapo.12006

Climate change litigation is an obsessive preoccupation for many legal scholars. Three different “narratives” can be identified for why scholars find such litigation important to study: litigation is a response to institutional failure, legal reasoning holds authority, and litigation is a forum for the co-production of facts and social orders. The nature and consequences of these narratives are considered in the context of the first U.S. Supreme Court “climate change” case—Massachusetts v. EPA (2007). This analysis has implications for both how scholars understand their expertise in this area, and how they should foster it.


E Fisher, 'Environmental Law as 'Hot' Law' (2013) 25 Journal of Environmental Law 347 [...]

DOI: 10.1093/jel/eqt025

The polycentric, interdisciplinary, normative and scientifically uncertain nature of environmental problems leads to a body of environmental law in which it can be difficult to settle on a single frame for understanding a problem and thus to identify relevant parties, the relationships between them, and the courses of action that can be taken. Using Michel Callon’s terminology this can be understood as ‘hot situations’ leading to ‘hot law’. In this Introduction to the Special Issue celebrating 25 years of the Journal of Environmental Law the nature of ‘hot environmental law’ is considered, as is the role of environmental law scholarship.


E Fisher, 'Framing Risk Regulation: A Critical Reflection' (2013) 4 European Journal of Risk Regulation 125

P Pascual, W Wagner and E Fisher, 'Making Method Visible: Improving the Quality of Science-Based Regulation' (2013) 2 Michigan Journal of Environmental and Administrative Law 429

2012

Sidney Shapiro, E Fisher and Wendy Wagner, 'The Enlightenment of Administrative Law: Looking Inside the Agency for Legitimacy' (2012) Wake Forest Law Review 463

E Fisher, 'The Rise of Transnational Environmental Law and the Expertise of Environmental Lawyers' (2012) 1 Transnational Environmental Law 43 [...]

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S2047102511000021

The concept of transnational environmental law is used descriptively and prescriptively to refer to a multitude of legal processes which are distinct from transnational law in other legal areas. Hence, the rise of transnational environmental law requires environmental lawyers to reflect on their skills and knowledge and to foster both their contributory and interactional expertise in this area. That process of fostering expertise needs to be seen in light of a number of intellectual challenges, including the necessity to engage with comparative environmental law methodology, the need to not privilege one legal system over others, the need to engage with extended legal pluralism, the importance of thinking about the role of language in legal processes, and the significance of understanding the process of co-production.


2010

E Fisher, 'Food Safety Crises as Crises of Administrative Constitutionalism' (2010) 20 Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine 55

Wendy Wagner, E Fisher, Elizabeth Fisher and Pasky Pascual, 'Misunderstanding Models in Environmental and Health Regulation' (2010) 18 New York University Environmental Law Journal 293 [...]

Computational models are fundamental to environmental regulation, yet their capabilities tend to be misunderstood by policymakers. Rather than rely on models to illuminate dynamic and uncertain relationships in natural settings, policymakers too often use models as “answer machines.” This fundamental misperception that models can generate decisive facts leads to a perverse negative feedback loop that begins with policymaking itself and radiates into the science of modeling and into regulatory deliberations where participants can exploit the misunderstanding in strategic ways. This paper documents the pervasive misperception of models as truth machines in U.S. regulation and the multi-layered problems that result from this misunderstanding. The paper concludes with a series of proposals for making better use of models in environmental policy analysis.


ISBN: 1061-8651

E Fisher, 'Transparency and Administrative Law: A Critical Evaluation' (2010) 63 Current Legal Problems 272

E Fisher, Pasky Pascual and Wendy Wagner, 'Understanding Environmental Models in Their Legal and Regulatory Context ' (2010) 22 Journal of Environmental Law 251 [...]

DOI: 10.1093/jel/eqq012

Environmental models are playing an increasingly important role in most jurisdictions and giving rise to disputes. Despite this fact, lawyers and policy-makers have overlooked models and not engaged critically with them. This is a problematic state of affairs. Modelling is a semi-autonomous, interdisciplinary activity concerned with developing representations of systems and is used to evaluate regulatory behaviour to ensure it is legitimate. Models are thus relevant to lawyers and policy-makers but need to be engaged with critically due to technical, institutional, interdisciplinary and evaluative complexities in their operation. Lawyers and policy-makers must thus think more carefully about models and in doing so reflect on the nature of their own disciplines and fields.


ISBN: 0952-8873

2009

E Fisher, Bettina Lange, Eloise Scotford and Cinnamon Carlarne, 'Maturity and Methodology: Starting a Debate about Environmental Law Scholarship' (2009) 21 Journal of Environmental Law 213 [...]

DOI: 10.1093/jel/eqp012

Many environmental law scholars perceive environmental law scholarship as immature. We discuss why this self-perception has arisen and argue that a common theme is methodology. We argue that the subject can only mature when we face its methodological challenges head on, and we identify four particular issues that have given rise to these challenges: the speed and scale of legal/regulatory change, the interdisciplinary nature of the subject, the heavy reliance in environmental law on a diverse range of governance arrangements and the multi-jurisdictional nature of the subject. We argue that there is a need for debate in the face of these challenges and identify some starting points for that debate.


ISBN: 0952-8873

2008

E Fisher, 'The \'perfect storm\' of REACH: charting regulatory controversy in the age of information, sustainable development, and globalization' (2008) 11 Journal of Risk Research 541 [...]

DOI: 10.1080/13669870802086547

The European Union's new chemicals regulation, REACH, has been one of the most controversial pieces of legislation in EU history. Indeed, the debate over REACH is akin to a 'perfect storm' in that the intense controversy over it has been caused by three regulatory aspects of the regime. First, REACH privatizes information collection, provision and assessment. Second, REACH represents a significant application of sustainable development and in so doing, redefines the conditions on which the EU chemicals market operates. Third, REACH will inevitably have inter-jurisdictional impacts for both supranational and national legal cultures including trade law implications, REACH being a template for international initiatives, it being a policy/legal irritant in other jurisdictions, and it providing information for public and private action in other jurisdictions. A charting of these different aspects of the regime not only provides a more nuanced account of REACH but also provides a clearer understanding of the challenges of regulating environmental and health risks in an era of market globalization


ISBN: 1366-9877

2005

E Fisher, 'Law, Precaution and Principles of Good Administration' (2005) 52(6) Water Science and Technology 19 [...]

3,500 word article for a non-lawyer audience on the interface between public administration and the precautionary principle in the EU


ISBN: 0273-1223

2004

E Fisher, 'The European Union in the Age of Accountability' (2004) 24(3) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 495

2003

E Fisher, 'The Rise of the Risk Commonwealth and the Challenge for Administrative Law' [2003] 2003(Autumn) Public Law 455

2002

E Fisher, 'Precaution, Precaution Everywhere: Developing a 'Common Understanding' of the Precautionary Principle in the European Community' (2002) 9 Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law 21 [...]

Criticism of "precaution spotting" because it ignores legal nature of the precautionary principle and role of legal culture.Principle gives rise to concerns of administrative constitutionalism and constitutional sovereignty.


ISBN: 1023-263X

2001

E Fisher, 'Is the Precautionary Principle Justiciable?' (2001) 13(3) Journal of Environmental Law 315

E Fisher and P Schmidt,, 'Seeing the ‘Blind Spots’ in Administrative Law: Theory, Practice, and Rulemaking Settlements in the United States' (2001) 30 Common Law World Review 272

E Fisher, Warwick Gullett, Chris Paterson and Elizabeth Fisher, 'Substantive Precautionary Decision-Making: The Australian Fisheries Management Authority's 'Lawful Pursuit' of the Precautionary Principle' (2001) 7 Australasian Journal of Natural Resources Law and Policy 40 [...]

Fish!A review of recent Australian Administrative Appeals Tribunal decisions concerning AFMA`s exercise of discretion pursuant to their legislative objective of the precautionary principle.


ISBN: 1320-5323

Books

2013

E Fisher, B Lange and E Scotford, Environmental Law: Text, Cases and Materials (OUP 2013)

2010

E Fisher, Risk Regulation and Administrative Constitutionalism (Hart Publishing 2010) [...]

Paperback version (with new foreword) of 2007 publication


ISBN: 9781849460880

2007

E Fisher, Risk Regulation and Administrative Constitutionalism (Hart Publishing 2007)

Chapters

2012

E Fisher, 'Risk and Governance' in David Levi-Faur (ed), Oxford Handbook of Governance (OUP 2012)

2010

E Fisher, 'Risk Regulatory Concepts and the Law' in OECD (ed), Risk and Regulatory Policy: Improving the Governance of Risk (OECD 2010) [...]

A discussion of the different roles risk regulatory concepts are playing in public administration and the legal implications of those roles.


ISBN: 9789264082922

2009

E Fisher, 'Opening Pandora's box: contextualising the precautionary principle in the European Union' in Michelle Everson and Ellen Vos (eds), Uncertain Risks Regulated (Routledge Cavendish 2009)

2008

E Fisher, 'Administrative Law, Pluralism and the Legal Construction of Merits Review in Australian Environmental Courts and Tribunals' in Linda Pearson, Carlow Harlow and Michael Taggart (eds), Administrative Law in a Changing State: Essays in Honour of Mark Aronson ( 2008) [...]

An analysis of the merits review powers of Australian environmental courts that illustrates that such powers vary dramatically and have at least four different aspects relating to scope of review, relevant considerations, procedure and evidence.


ISBN: 9781841137872

2006

E Fisher, 'Beyond the Science/Democracy Dichotomy: The World Trade Organisation Sanitary and PhytoSanitary Agreement and Administrative Constitutionalism' in C. Joerges & E. Petersmann (eds), Constitutionalism, Multilevel Trade Governance and Social Regulation (Hart Publishing 2006)

E Fisher, 'Risk and Environmental Law: A Beginner's Guide' in B. Richardson & S. Wood (eds), Environmental Law for Sustainability (Hart Publishing 2006) [...]

An analysis of how 'risk' and 'risk assessment' have developed as concepts in the environmental law of different national, transnational and supranational jurisidictions.


ISBN: 1-84113-544-5

E Fisher and Ronnie Harding, 'The precautionary principle and administrative constitutionalism: developing frameworks for implementing the precautionary principle' in E. Fisher, J. Jones & R. von Schomberg (eds), Implementing the Precautionary Principle: Perspectives and Prospects (Edward Elgar Publishing 2006) [...]

Interdisciplinary piece looking at the relationship between frameworks for implementing the pp and understandings of good public administration


ISBN: 9780000000000

2004

E Fisher, 'Unpacking the Toolbox: Or Why the Public/Private Divide Is Important in EC Environmental Law' in J-B Auby and M Freedland (eds), The Public Law/Private Law Divide: une entente assez cordiale (L.G.D.J. Diffuseur 2004) [...]

14 000 word piece analysing the role of private actors in EC environmental law and arguing the need to see their role in public law terms


ISBN: 291339728X

2001

E Fisher and others, 'The Precautionary Principle in Australia: From Aspiration to Practice?' in T. O’Riordan, J. Cameron & A. Jordan (eds), Reinterpreting the Precautionary Principle (Cameron May Publishing 2001) [...]

Descriptive analysis of precautionary principle in Australia.


ISBN: 1874698236

Edited books

2006

E Fisher and others (eds), Implementing the Precautionary Principle: Perspectives and Prospects (Edward Elgar 2006) [...]

336 edited book bringing together academics from the US, Australia and Europe to examine the implementation of the precautionary principle


ISBN: 978 1 845427023


Interests

Teaching: Constitutional and Administrative Law; European Union Law; Environmental Law; Regulation; Legal Research Method

Research: Environmental Law, Risk Regulation, Administrative Law, EU Law

Other details

Vice-Chair of the Law Board

Correspondence address:

Corpus Christi College
Merton Street, Oxford OX1 4JF





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