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Environmental Law — Overview

Discussion Groups

These self-sustaining groups are an essential part of the life of our graduate school. They are organised in some cases by graduate students and in others by Faculty members and meet regularly during term, typically over a sandwich lunch, when one of the group presents work in progress or introduces a discussion of a particular issue or new case. They may also encompass guest speakers from the faculty and beyond.

Environmental Law Discussion Group

Publications

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Showing all 30 Environmental Law publications currently held in our database
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Journal Articles

2014

E Fisher, 'Chemicials as Regulatory Objects' (2014) 23 Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law 163

2013

S J Bright and H Dixie, 'Evidence of Green Leases in England and Wales' (2013) 6 International Journal of Law in the Built Environment 6 [...]

DOI: 10.1108/IJLBE-07-2013-0027

This paper reports on research that investigates the use of green clauses in leases of office and retail premises in England and Wales. We examined 26 recent leases of green build properties registered at HM Land Registry. The green clauses discovered were classified, and compared with the model form green clauses promoted by the London based Better Building Partnership’s Green Lease Toolkit.


S J Bright, 'Green Leases – Becoming more usual? ' (2013) Estates Gazette

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

C Axon and others, 'Building Communities: Reducing Energy Use in Tenanted Commercial Property' (2012) 40 Building Research and Information 461 [...]

DOI: 10.1080/09613218.2012.680701

Reducing energy use in tenanted commercial property requires greater understanding of ’buildings as communities’. Tenanted commercial properties represent: (1) the divergent communities that share specific buildings and (2) the organisational communities represented by multi-site landlord and tenant companies. In any particular tenanted space the opportunity for environmental change is mediated (hindered or enabled) through the lease. This discussion draws on theoretical and practical understandings of (i) the socio-legal relationships of landlords, tenants and their advisors; (ii) the real performance of engineering building services strategies to improve energy efficiency; (iii) how organisational cultures affect the ability of the sector to engage with energy efficiency strategies; and (iv) the financial and economic basis of the relationship between owners and occupiers. The transformational complexity stems from: (i) the variety of commercial building stock; (ii) the number of stakeholders (solicitors, investors, developers, agents, owners, tenants and facilities managers); (iii) the fragmentation within the communities of practice; and (iv) leasehold structures and language. An agenda is proposed for truly interdisciplinary research that brings together both the physical and social sciences of energy use in buildings so that technological solutions are made effective by an understanding of the way that buildings are used and communities behave.


ISBN: 0182-3329

Craig Roussac and others, 'Improving environmental performance through innovative commercial leasing: An Australian case study' (2012) 4 International Journal of Law in the Built Environment 6 [...]

DOI: 10.1108/17561451211211714

The paper explains how difficult it is within the structure and content of conventional leases to reduce the environmental impact of the tenanted commercial built environment. It explores the interplay between the content and structure of commercial leases and the behaviour of building owners, managers, tenants and occupants, illustrated through the experiences of a large Australian-based commercial office building owner/operator.


2010

S J Bright, 'Carbon Reduction and Commercial Leases in the UK' (2010) 2 International Journal of Law and the Built Environment 218 [...]

This paper explores the potential impact that the introduction of the UK’s CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme will have on a) energy use in the tenanted commercial built environment and b) the idea of the net lease.


ISBN: 1756-1450

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, 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

S J Bright and others, 'The Greening of Commercial Leases' (2008) 26 Journal of Property Investment and Finance 541 [...]

DOI: 10.1108/14635780810908389

The paper considers how policy changes may drive changes in leasing practices, in order to reduce environmental impact from the commercial building stock.


ISBN: 1463-578X

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

2007

P Eleftheriadis, 'Environmental Rights in the EC Legal Order' (2007) 27 Yearbook of European Law

2004

Simon Whittaker, 'Assessing the fairness of contract terms: the parties’ essential bargain, its regulatory context and the significance of the requirement of good faith' (2004) 37987 Zeitschrift fur Europaisches Privatrecht 75 [...]

The article looks at issues relating to the harmonisation of contract law in the context of the decision of the HL in DGFT v First National Bank


ISBN: 0943-3929

Books

2013

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

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

2010

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

Paperback version (with new foreword) of 2007 publication


ISBN: 9781849460880

Chapters

2014

E Fisher, 'Blazing Upstream? Strategic Environmental Assessment as ‘Hot’ Law' in Gregory Jones and Eloise Scotford (eds), The Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive: A Plan for Success (Hart 2014)

G. Giacca and A. Bellal, 'Principle 25 on Peace, Development and Environmental Protection' in Jorge E. Viñuales (ed), The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development: A Commentary (Oxford University Press 2014) (forthcoming)

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 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

1999

P Eleftheriadis, 'The Future of Environmental Rights in the European Union ' in Philip Alston (ed), The European Union and Human Rights (Oxford University Press 1999)

Others

2006

P Eleftheriadis, 'After Aarhus' (2006) European Advocate 10

Courses

The courses we offer in this field are:

Undergraduate

FHS - Final Year (Phase III)

The degree is awarded on the basis of nine final examinations at the end of the three-year course (or four years in the case of Law with Law Studies in Europe) and (for students who began the course in October 2011 or later) an essay in Jurisprudence written over the summer vacation at the end of the second year. Note: the Jurisprudence exam at the end of the third year is correspondingly shorter. This phase of the Final Honour School includes the first and second term of the final year; the Final Examinations are taken in the third term of the final year.

Environmental Law

This course is an introduction to the subject of environmental law and covers the main areas of substantive UK (with the focus on England) and EU environmental law. Environmental law is concerned with the law relating to the protection of the environment and includes areas such as planing law,  pollution control law, nature conservation, environmental impact assessment, waste law, and EU free movement law. Much of the substance of UK environmental law is derived from EU law and as a subject environmental law builds on the core subjects of EU Law and Administrative Law as well as applying concepts from other areas such as criminal law and tort law.

The course will take into consideration the socio-political context that environmental law operates in and the course will explore the complex and ever expanding case law and legislation on the subject. A major theme of the course is the type of challenges that environmental problems provide for the law. In the last decade environmental law has given rise to difficult legal questions including: what should be the rights of citizens to legally challenge ‘public’ decision-making; what should be the limits of discretion placed on administrative decision-makers in their pursuit of environmental protection; how should environmental protection be weighed up against other social goals; what are the best means of achieving environmental protection; and how much regulatory autonomy should Member States have under EU law to protect the environment in the way they so wish.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge of the substantive  legal aspects of most significant environmental law frameworks in the UK

Knowledge of the complexity of environmental problems and how that complexity affects the application of the law

knowledge of how environmental law relates to core legal areas, particularly EU law and administrative law

Postgraduate

BCL

Our taught postgraduate programme, designed to serve outstanding law students from common-law backgrounds

Comparative and Global Environmental Law (not offered in 2014-15)

Environmental law regimes now operate at the local, national, transnational and international levels in relation to a wide range of environmental problems. This course is a study of these regimes in comparative perspective so as to highlight not only the similarities and differences between them, but also the types of intellectual challenges they create for scholars and lawyers. In particular, a feature of these regimes is their legal and regulatory complexity. Topics covered include the role and nature of environmental principles; the role of courts; the nature of environmental decision-making processes (including the roles of science and participation); environmental impact assessment; nature conservation; chemicals regulation; transgenic agricultural regulation; integrated pollution control; emission trading schemes; commercial transactions; and private law. Reading will be drawn from case law, policy, legal, socio-legal and interdisciplinary literature and consists of 13 seminars and 4 tutorials which will run over MT, HT and the first third of TT. There are no pre-requisites for the course.

MJur

Our taught postgraduate programme, designed to serve outstanding law students from civil law backgrounds.

Comparative and Global Environmental Law (not offered in 2014-15)

Environmental law regimes now operate at the local, national, transnational and international levels in relation to a wide range of environmental problems. This course is a study of these regimes in comparative perspective so as to highlight not only the similarities and differences between them, but also the types of intellectual challenges they create for scholars and lawyers. In particular, a feature of these regimes is their legal and regulatory complexity. Topics covered include the role and nature of environmental principles; the role of courts; the nature of environmental decision-making processes (including the roles of science and participation); environmental impact assessment; nature conservation; chemicals regulation; transgenic agricultural regulation; integrated pollution control; emission trading schemes; commercial transactions; and private law. Reading will be drawn from case law, policy, legal, socio-legal and interdisciplinary literature and consists of 13 seminars and 4 tutorials which will run over MT, HT and the first third of TT. There are no pre-requisites for the course.


People

Environmental Law teaching is organized by a Subject Group convened by:

Liz Fisher: Professor of Environmental Law

in conjunction with:

Bettina Lange: Associate Professor of Law and Regulation
Stephen Weatherill: Jacques Delors Professor of European Law

assisted by:

Dhvani Mehta: DPhil Law student

Also working in this field, but not involved in its teaching programme:

Avani Bansal: MPhil Law student
Iris Benöhr: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow
David Langlet: Stockholm Research Fellow
Catherine Redgwell: Chichele Professor of Public International Law


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