By Centre for Law and Environment , on 20 April 2016
PIEL 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.
By Centre for Law and Environment , on 29 February 2016
The 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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Almost 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.
By Centre for Law and Environment , on 3 August 2015
First Annual Lecture
Environmental Law in the Glasshouse:
A Decade of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and What It Tells Us About Environmental Law
Professor Liz Fisher, University of Oxford, Corpus Christi College
Tuesday 20 October 2015, 17:00 – 18:00 (followed by drinks reception)
at UCL Marquee (Main Quad), Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT
The UCL Centre for Law and the Environment Annual Lecture Series is being launched in 2015 as a platform for the development and showcasing of contemporary environmental law scholarship. The Lectures are delivered on an annual basis and cover a wide range of environmental law scholarship and methodological approaches to law.
About this talk
The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR), as with other information rights legislation, has now been fully in force for over a decade. The starting assumption for these different regimes is that they are straightforward mechanisms that balance a general right of disclosure against limited reasons for non-disclosure. The end result is presumed to be greater clarity about environmental governance. But a decade’s worth of Information Commissioner decision notices, and tribunal and court decision reveals the opposite. The application of the EIR regime is underpinned by assumptions about good environmental governance and its operation leads to a questioning of the structure and nature of environmental governance. This paper draws on a century’s worth of experience with glass in architecture to show that this is inevitable and not a negative. But it does mean that the EIR cannot be understood as simply cutting a window into the side of government to reveal what is inside. Rather EIR and related regimes need to be understood as architectural structures that force us to reflect on the malleable and complex nature of environmental law.
About the speaker
Liz Fisher, BA/LLB (UNSW), D Phil (Oxon) is Professor of 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.
To read more about our speaker click here.
Read further work on this topic Liz Fisher: A Decade in the Glasshouse.
About the Centre for Law and the Environment
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By Centre for Law and Environment , on 28 July 2015
Maria Lee from the Centre for Law and the Environment is part of a team of UCL academics recently awarded ESRC funding for a project exploring the space for public participation in decision-making on major wind energy infrastructure projects. Bringing together academics from planning and science and technology studies, as well as law, this project will examine the ways in which publics engage, and the ways in which evidence and knowledge are constructed and understood, in decision-making on major wind infrastructure projects.
A pilot research project had suggested that central government policy, at that time strongly in favour of major wind farm development, was constraining engagement with public concerns and aspirations; and also that there is a preference for ‘evidence’ and ‘knowledge’ to be constructed from highly technical ‘expert’, rather than lay, contributions. These observations raise interesting questions about how decision-making on major wind projects might take the concerns of diverse local publics into account in practice.
By Centre for Law and Environment , on 19 June 2015
Professor Macrory took part in a workshop at the European Parliament in Brussels on 17 June exploring issues concerned with achieving a low carbon future for the North Sea. The workshop, chaired by Ian Duncan MEP and organized by SSCS (Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage) was attended by parliamentarians, industry and non-governmental groups. Enhanced Oil Recovery is a long established technology used in the United States for extracting the maximum amount of oil from a reservoir by pumping CO2 into the well. It has not yet used in the North Sea, but if combined with the long term of storage of CO2 could provided a much needed economic incentive for CCS. But it is not without controversy and the workshop explored issues of public engagament and perception, comparative balances (i.e. by allowing more oil extraction do you simply wipe out any benefits of the stored CO2? ), and the security of storage. Professor Macrory focussed on legal issues likely to be associated with the approach, building on the Report that he and colleagues at the Centre wrote for SCCS last year : SCCS-CO2-EOR-JIP-WP6-Legal
By Centre for Law and Environment , on 26 May 2015
Speakers at the conference of enforcement of environmental law held at the Faculty on March 30th have kindly provided their power point presentations, which are available here.