Legal Reasoning in Environmental Law

Legal Reasoning in Environmental Law

A Study of Structure, Form and Language

Douglas Fisher

Legal Reasoning in Environmental Law provides a comprehensive review and analysis of the range of legal reasoning processes to support the understanding, interpretation and application of international, regional and national rules of environmental law.

Chapter 17: Strategic rules regulating decisions

Douglas Fisher

Subjects: environment, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, legal theory, public international law


International environmental law has responded to the challenges of environmental degradation by recognising rules of limitation in the form of strategic rules, regulatory rules and liability rules. National legal systems have responded similarly but the most recent focus has been on regulatory rules. The inspiration for the introduction of regulatory rules has been the protection of the environment, then the conservation of natural resources and now sustainable development. The normative framework that has emerged comprises each of these elements of the system. It has however been the relationship between them that has become the focus of a number of regulatory regimes. What is important is how the relevant judicial institutions have responded to these regulatory rules and what processes of legal reasoning have brought together in an integrated fashion these sets of strategic, regulatory and liability rules. In this chapter we review three sets of examples. The first is the way in which the judiciary in the United States of America has responded to rules of this kind. Then our attention turns to the resource management regime in New Zealand. Finally there are some interesting examples of the way in which the rules mandating the methodology of decision- making in Australia have developed. The National Environmental Policy Act 1969 contains a statement of purpose, a declaration of national environmental policy and a number of obligations imposed upon all agencies of the federal government.

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