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Cover Birnie, Boyle, and Redgwell's International Law and the Environment

4. State Responsibility, Treaty Compliance, and Dispute Settlement  

This chapter looks at the number of ways that secure compliance with international environmental law can be employed. The more traditional approach to this subject is the familiar one of interstate claims for breach of international obligations, employing the variety of forms of dispute settlement machinery contemplated in Article 33 of the UN Charter. There are a number of disadvantages to enforcing international environmental law in this manner, particularly if it involves compulsory resort to judicial institutions. The chapter outlines these disadvantages which include the adverse effect on relations between the relevant states; the complexity, length, and expense of international litigation; the technical character of environmental problems, and the difficulties of proof which legal proceedings may entail, and uncertainty concerning jurisdiction and applicable law in legally complex disputes.