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Environmental LawText, Cases & Materials

Environmental Law: Text, Cases & Materials (2nd edn)

Elizabeth Fisher, Bettina Lange, and Eloise Scotford
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date: 29 February 2024

p. 37512. International Environmental Lawlocked

p. 37512. International Environmental Lawlocked

  • Elizabeth Fisher, Elizabeth FisherProfessor of Environmental Law, Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford
  • Bettina LangeBettina LangeAssociate Professor of Law and Regulation, University of Oxford
  •  and Eloise ScotfordEloise ScotfordProfessor of Environmental Law, UCL


While not the focus of this textbook, understanding the role and nature of international environmental law is important in understanding UK environmental law. This is because, international law has played a vital role in creating frameworks for environmental protection and for catalysing developments in national environmental law. This chapter provides an overview of international environmental law. It begins with a brief examination of the concept of international environmental law, the different ways it can be defined, its history, and the emergence of hybrids of it. In the second section a number of key ideas in public international law that are relevant to international environmental law are explored including the sources of international law, state sovreignity, fragmentation, and international law theory. The analysis then moves on to the institutional landscape of international environmental law, its legal nature and finally the nuanced relationship between international environmental law and national and EU law.

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