Archive for the 'Activities' Category

Reflections on nuisance and regulation

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 18 August 2014

15 September 2014, 3.30 – 6.30pm (drinks from 6.30)

Chaired by The Rt Hon The Lord Carnwath of Notting Hill and Professor Paul Mitchell (UCL)

The place of regulatory decisions in private nuisance is of enormous practical significance, for litigators, planners, businesses and communities. It also highlights broader, persistent questions about the relative roles of courts and administrative bodies in the generation and enforcement of appropriate social (including environmental) standards, and in the distribution of risks, opportunities, costs and benefits. In this seminar Maria Lee (UCL) will talk on Nuisance and the complexity of regulation; Eloise Scotford (Dickson Poon School of Law) on Private nuisance, regulation and the nature of property rights: an evolving legal story; Ben Pontin (University of the West of England) on The co-evolution of nuisance and environmental regulation; Jenny Steele (University of York) on “An unduly moralistic approach to disputes”? Monetary remedies for nuisance after Coventry v Lawrence; and Justine Thornton (39 Essex Street) on The role of public nuisance in environmental pollution control.

Scotford Thornton Pontin

New study: Natural Capital Accounting

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 13 June 2014

Working in partnership with the Global Legislators Organisation, GLOBE International, UCL has published a major review of national laws and policies in 21 countries concerning natural capital accounting. The study featured contributions from 56 individuals, including parliamentarians, government officials, external consultants, and subject matter experts from UCL.

The study was officially launched on 7 June 2014 at the 2nd World Summit of Legislators, hosted by the Mexican Congress of the Union in Mexico City. More than 500 presidents, speakers and senior legislators from around the world attended the Summit. One of the study’s lead authors Dr Ben Milligan highlighted the study’s objectives and key conclusions in an address to the Summit’s plenary session.


Jonathan Robinson Appointed Visiting Professor

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 9 April 2014


Jonathan Robinson, currently Director of resources and Legal Services at the Environment Agency, England and Wales, has been appointed a Visiting Professor to the Faculty.

 Jonathan was a senior lawyer at the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs, before taking up the position of Chief Legal Adviser to the Ministry of Social Development, New Zealand. He was subsequently appointed Chief Legal Adviser to the Department of Communities and Local Government before taking up his present position with the Environment Agency in 2009.

On learning of the appointment, Jonathan said, “I’m have always greatly enjoyed my discussions with the high calibre students and academic staff and researchers at UCL, and am delighted and hugely honoured to be made a Visiting Professor.  I look forward to working more closely with UCL over the coming years”

Richard Macrory, co-director for the Centre for Law and the Environment, commented, “We are all absolutely delighted at the prospect of closer collaboration with Jonathan – he is someone with  enormous experience of environmental law and the machinery of government, and his appojntment comes at a period in the development of thinking about  environmental regulation and environmental regulators.”

 Jonathan’s CV

KCL and UCL CCS Conference Report

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 25 March 2014

CCS Conferene Cover ImageOn the 6th of March 2014, King’s College, in collaboration with UCL, organised a conference on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) (see our previous post for more details and a short summary of the event). The Conference Report, including the day’s programme and a list of delegates, is now available and can be downloaded from the following link: CCS Conference Report (KCL & UCL). For copies of speakers’ presentations and more information on events at King’s College in general, please click here.

A successful conference on CCS – 6 March 2014, London

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 11 March 2014

KCLresizedOn the 6th of March 2014, King’s College, in collaboration with UCL, organised a conference on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), held in Senate House (London).

With contributions from government, industry and academia, discussions were lively, informed,  and encouraged  a sense of urgency to get CCS on track. Speakers included the Government Chief Scientist, Sir Mark Walport, Dan Byles MP, Prof. Stuart Haszeldine of University of Edinburgh, Ward Goldthorpe (Crown Estate) , David Kennedy (Climate Change Committee) Ashley Ibbett (Department of Energy and Climate Change), Ian Havercroft (Global Carbon Capture Storage Institute) and many others. (more…)

Freshfields LLM Student Evening

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 4 February 2014

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City solicitors Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer hosted an informal evening in January for UCL LLM students taking environmental and energy options.  Over supper, around 35 students from all over the world heard from Senior Associate Vanessa Jakovich and two of her colleagues what it was actually like practicing environmental law in an international law firm, and the qualities needed to be effective.  This was followed by a talk from Richard Gordon QC, a leading London public law barrister, who considered the proper relationship between the unelected judiciary and an elected government, especially in the light of current tensions. Richard Macrory co-director of the Centre for Law and the Environment commented, “Freshfields have long been supportive of UCL’s environmental law activities, and we are delighted yet again for their generosity in making this such a worthwhile evening for our current students.”

Law and Policy Seminar Series

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 13 December 2013

All talks take place in Seminar Room 7 on Wednesdays, 1-2 pm (unless otherwise stated). A sandwich lunch is provided – please register for each event for catering purposes.

To register, contact Liz Carter at

Tuesday 19 November 6pm-7.30pm
Freshfields, London
The Annual Journal of Environmental Law/ UKELA Garner Lecture
‘The Common Laws of the Environment, at Home and Abroad’
Rt Hon Lord Carnwath CVO of Notting Hill, UKELA President
27 November ‘High Speed Rail and High Speed Reform: Perspectives from the Environmental Bar’
New Westaway, Barrister, Francis Taylor Building
4 December Richard Jackson, Directive, Environmental Sustainability Team, UCL
29 January ‘Representing Small Island States in Climate Negotiations’
Linda Siegele, Centre for Law and Environment, UCL
12 February ‘The State of Climate Justice’
Sharon Turner, Climate and Energy Senior Lawyer, ClientEarth and Honorary Professor at UCL
5 March
Barnes, 2.15-4.30pm
Meet at 1.15pm in the Law Faculty Foyer
Trip to London Wetlands Centre
12 March ‘Access to Environmental Justice’
Tom Brenan, Environmental Law Foundation
19 March Dissertation ‘drop in’ clinic for LLB students
25 March, 1 – 1.50 pm ‘Europe and the Environment – Is there a Future?’
Ludwig Kramer

Judicial Review Reforms

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 15 November 2013

In September 201Trade Union_63 the Ministry of Justice published proposals for further reforms to Judicial Review procedures.  These include the possible creation of a specialist Land and Planning Chamber within the Upper Tribunal to handle planning JRs, and more controversially ideas for restricting standing, and minimize ‘political’ JRs designed primarily to delay Government decision-maker.  Professor Macrory has made a personal submission to the Consultation Document.

Key points in Professor Macrory’s submission which focuses on environmental JRs are:

  • The Consultation Paper focuses on planning JRs and acknowledges that many of its proposals cannot apply to Aarhus environmental JRs. Yet many planning JRs will inevitably engage Aarhus.
  • Aarhus does not entitled people to bring frivolous or unwarranted claims but the the vision of Aarhus for economical and speedy access to review procedures requires a more radical rethink on how JRs have been traditionally handled.
  • There is considerable merit in the proposal of the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) in handling planning JRs.  Environmental JRs should also be transferred, starting with those areas of environmental law where statutory appeals to the First Tier Environment Tribunal now lie.  The new Chamber should be called the Land, Planning and Environment Chamber.
  • Third parties who had participated in environmental regulatory procedures should have a limited right of appeal to the First Tier Environmental Tribunal on the substantive or procedural legality of the decision in question. Providing an appeal in this way would be more consistent with Aarhus aspirations than JR actions and by channeling such challenges through the First Tier Tribunal would help dampen unrealistic and expensive JR claims.
  • There is a limited discretion under Aarhus to define standing requirements under national rules for environmental NGOs but it is unlikely that doing so will meet concerns expressed in the Consultation Paper, and it is preferable to rely on judicial discretion.


The Government responded to the consultation in February 2014 – Cm 8811

  • The Government has decided not to set up  a new chamber in the Upper Tribunal for planning and environmental JRs. Instead it will create a new Planning Court within the High Court –  “The Government is satisfied that the Planning Court continuing to hear cases in the High Court will deliver the improvements it had been minded to seek through the creation of a Planning Chamber in the Upper Tribunal. The Planning Court should be up and running more quickly without introducing uncertainty around the development of new rules and case management procedure that a Planning Chamber in the Upper Tribunal would have required”.
  • The Government has decided not to change existing rules on standing in planning and environment JRs – “The Government is clear that the current approach to judicial review allows for misuse, but is not of the view that amending standing is the best way to limit the potential for mischief. Rather, the Government’s view is that the better way to deliver its policy aim is through a strong package of financial reforms to limit the pursuit of weak claims and by reforming the way the court deals with judicial reviews based on procedural defects.”


The European Union Raw Materials Initiative: responding to key legal and policy challenges

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 14 November 2013

mine-_c_-istockphotoThe UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources (ISR), with the UCL Faculty of Laws and the European Institute,  held the first UCL Symposium on the legal and policy issues associated with the European Union Strategy on Raw Materials and Resource Efficiency on 8th November. Chiara Armeni, Research Associate with the Faculty of Laws-Centre for Law and the Environment – and with ISR, was the promoter of the event, which was sponsored by the UCL European Institute Small Grants’ Scheme.

The Symposium attracted more than 90 registered delegates from academia, industry, government and NGOs.  It was opportunity to stimulate academic discussion on the challenges of access and sustainable use of raw materials, as well as to identify key legal and policy questions to be developed under the ISR Research Agenda.

Details on the aims and objectives, the Programme, speakers’ biographies and additional materials can be found here.

Rubbish Walk by LLM Students

By Centre for Law and Environment , on 8 November 2013

photoIn early November  LLM students taking environmental law options took part in a walk lead by Rosie Oliver of Dotmakers Tours exploring the role of waste and rubbish in London’s historic development. Rosie is a former Government environmental lawyer, and now works with the UK Environmental Law Association as well as leading themed walks in London,  many with an environmental focus.  The walk began on the Isle of Dogs and ended on the bank of the Thames by Greenwich where students were able to find oyster shells and tobacco pipes thrown out over four hundred years ago and still resting on the foreshore.