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Paris Agreement on Climate Change – Its Legal Implications

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 21 June 2016

logoProfessor Macrory was key note speaker at a meeting organized in Brussels by the European Environmental Advisory Councils on 17 June to discuss the legal implications of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The EEAC is a grouping of official environmental advisory bodies across the EU, and includes the UK Climate Change Committee.

Although the Paris agreement has been characterized as a commitment of effort by parties rather than  Kyoto style legally binding emission reductions , Professor Macrory’s analysis  demonstrated there were many legal obligations encased in the agreement. He went on to argue that the ambitious overall goals of the agreement were likely to influence the development of climate change law and litigation at national level.

Professor Macrory’s power point :  Macrory Paris agreement

 

 

 

Reflective Learning

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 10 June 2016

CNV00007Last term  Professor Jane Holder and LLB Environmental Law students attended a two-day study retreat at the Sustainability Centre, Hampshire. The outdoor learning environment encouraged reflection on valuing nature and measuring loss, together with their legal mediation. Former students now working in a range of professional settings contributed to the event.

​Avosetta Meeting on EU Environmental Law

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 1 June 2016

IMG_0105Academics specialists in EU and national environmental law met at the end of May in Riga, Latvia for the annual meeting of the Avosetta group of lawyers.  Professor Macrory was one of the founding members of Avosetta when it was launched in 2001, and attended the Riga meeting.
This year’s meeting was focussed on national procedures for authorising major installations and infrastructure, set in the context of EU environmental law.  Papers also considered the extent to which Member States had introduced procedures to speed up decision-making. This was set against the context of the EU Commission’s current regulatory reform programme including REFIT and the Make It Work, an initiative of some Members States designed to improve the effectiveness of EU environmental law.
Papers presented at the meeting, which include national updates of significant recent legislation and case-law, will soon be available on the Avosetta web-site together with general lessons and conclusions which will be sent to the European Commission.

Partnership with the Environmental Law Foundation

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 1 June 2016

ELF LOGO Professor Jane Holder has been leading our partnership with the Environmental Law Foundation established last year.  The ELF/UCL Clinic has been set up allowing the introduction of an environmental  legal practice element into the LLB programme and bringing UCL Laws  into a national network of ELF clinics located in universities.  This provides the opportunity to share expertise and best practice in clinical legal education, as well as identifying patterns of environmental injustice.

As outputs from the partnership and clinic, this year’s LLB environmental law students have:BATTERSEA PARK

  • – researched EU environmental assessment law to support a cross-NGO complaint to the European Commission about the non-implementation of national regulations relating to farmland biodiversity.
  • – embarked on advice work for users of Battersea Park in relation to decision making about planned Formula E racing events.  The areas of law include environmental assessment and Aarhus participation rights.

LLM Students Hold Climate Change Conference

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 20 April 2016

c5c7b637-fead-43c4-bc9b-bdb82fe12557PIEL UK held its 10th Annual Conference on 15 April : “Climate Talks After Paris: Beyond the Pledges.” Students, academics and legal practitioners attended the all day event which was organized by LLM environmental law students at London universities including UCL.

The aim was to critically assess the future of climate negotiations and its impact on the international legal sector. The conference opened with keynote speaker Kirsty Schneeberger, who participated in the Paris negotiations as former advisor to the UNFCCC Executive Secretary. Other speakers and panellists included participants in the Paris negotiations and leading specialists in international climate law.

Professor Richard Macrory was moderator of one of the sessions, and Ned Westaway, Hon Research Associate and a founding member of PIEL provided the closing speech. Ashley Overhouse from PIEL has provided a Detailed Account.

First Civil Financial Penalty Served by the Environment Agency

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 29 February 2016

imgresThe Environment Agency has just publicized details of the first variable civil penalty served on an organization for an environmental offence. Civil penalties were part of range of new sanctions recommended by Professor Macrory in his 2006 Cabinet Office Sanctions Review, and contained in Part III Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008.
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A penalty of £63,958 plus costs was imposed on Cumbria County Council last August after chlorine leaked out of one of its swimming pools and killed more than 400 fish in a local river, according to the Environment Agency’s  latest list of civil sanctions, published on 19 February 2016.

Professor Macrory commented, “I am delighted to see another significant step in the practical implementation of a modern and flexible sanctions systems. In this case the incident was serious enough to warrant an imposed sanction rather than accept an agreed undertaking but not a full criminal prosecution. The Agency now has a flexible range of sanctions powers appropriate to the situation in hand.”

Climate Change and the National Courts

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 4 December 2015

Over 100 people attended a packed  conference held in London on December 1 at Mishcon de Reya LLP, and hosted by UK Environmental Law Association, Planning & Environment Bar Association, and Constitutional & Administrative Law Bar Association. The focus of the event was on the potential role of national courts in climate change issues.   Any agreement that results from the current Paris negotiations on climate change will centre on bottom up national reductions plans (termed by the UN as  ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’), and this suggests that national courts may play a stronger role in the future in ensuring their effective implementation.  Speakers included Tom Burke, Visiting Professor, UCL; Sarah Kohl (Department of Energy and Climate Change); Professor Richard Macrory, Centre for Law and the Environment, UCL; and Lord Carnwath, Supreme Court, with James Maurici QC chairing.    Professor Macrory considered the UK Climate Change Act 2008 and the extent to which its provisions could be justiciable in the courts. 1kpp4cvg0yww5ajdZiwiYuUKMqcntEy64pjk-CD2Jne_PLZFvmOvpWecxUdtKC1lEgWiq1g=s105

New members of CLE

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 3 November 2015

We are delighted to announce the appointment of two new members to the Centre for Law and the Environment, Professor Catherine Redgwell and Justine Thornton.

Justine is a barrister at 39 Essex Chambers, specialising in environmental law, and has been appointed a visiting professor at the Centre. Catherine is Chichele Professor of International Law at University of Oxford, All Souls College, and has been appointed an honorary professor at the Centre.

We are thrilled to be joined by two such accomplished colleagues, and very much look forward to working with them.

 

IV UCL-KCL Postgraduate Environmental Law Symposium

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 21 September 2015

After three highly successful events, the fourth Postgraduate Environmental Law Symposium jointly organised by University College London (UCL) Faculty of Laws and King’s College London (KCL) Dickson Poon School of Law will be held on 25 February 2016 at King’s College London.

Announcement and call for papers.

European Environmental Law Forum

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 7 September 2015

Professor Richard Macrory was a key note speaker at the 2015 European Environmental Law Forum conference held in Aix en Provence.

imgresAlmost 150 people attended the meeting held 2-4 September at the Faculty of Law and Political Science, Aix-Marseille University, with workshops including presentations from many PhD students across Europe.

The theme of this year’s conference was ‘The Effectiveness of Environmental Law” and Professor Macrory addressed the final plenary session on the challenges of designing effective sanctions at both national and European Union level.