Chapter 4: Harmonisation of Substantive Legal Principles and Structures: Lessons from Environmental Laws in a Federal Legal System (Australia)
Ross Ashcroft1 Throughout history, there have been shifts between a harmonised legal system and fragmented legal system.2 Cultural wars led to a fragmentation of states, and thus the complexity of the ‘law of nations’ arose. The notion of sovereignty by princes, and later governments, took precedence. 3 In recent centuries, and even more so since the forming of the European Union (and its predecessors), Europe is once again trying to harmonise the legal systems. However, Europe is not alone in this quest. Harmonisation of laws, both within and between legal systems, is a goal of many nations and regions. Federal states, such as Australia, too have seen the pressing need to harmonise areas of law. The advantages of harmonisation are obvious – decrease the economic costs involved in management of resources and it can increase the ease of trade.4 The advantages of a single system of law have long been recognised 1 BA/LLB (Hons) (Griffith), GDLP (Griffith) MCL (Adelaide/Mannheim), LLM (Griffith), Grad. Cert. Arts (UNE), Law Lecturer, Charles Darwin University, Australia. The author would like acknowledge Professors Douglas E. Fisher, Sharon Christensen, Bill Duncan of Queensland University of Technology and Professor Pamela O’Connor of Monash University for their helpful comments and Dr Jackie Mapulanga-Hulston of Queensland University of Technology for editorial comments. The author acknowledges the financial assistance from the Australian Research Council, DP0771825. All errors remain solely mine. 2 Wiener, J (1999), Globalization and the Harmonization of Law, Pinter Press at vii. 3 Donlan, SP (2008), ‘“Our laws are as...
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