Legal Reasoning in Environmental Law
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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.
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Chapter 8: Judicially constructed rules: Biological resources

A Study of Structure, Form and Language

Douglas Fisher


During the first six decades of the twentieth century, the rules of international environmental law increasingly recognised the need and then the obligation of states to conserve natural resources from over- exploitation and the obligation not to damage or to permit to be damaged the environment beyond their territorial jurisdiction. These obligations may be seen to have evolved out of the existing obligations to take into account the interests of other states and not to interfere with these interests. Since the 1970s the concept of the community of interest has expanded to include the interests and the concerns that states have expressed about the environment generally and ultimately about the global environment. These fundamental changes have been expressed through the propositions in the Stockholm Declaration 1972 and the Rio Declaration 1992 together with the increasingly significant number of multilateral environmental agreements which have sought to give effect to many of these principles. It is very much an ongoing process. Some of these principles have emerged as legal rules while many have retained their status as paralegal rules. Nevertheless they impact upon each other. Despite the absence in international law of any doctrine of precedent, it has been the reasons given in support of decisions by judicial institutions on the one hand, and the reasons given in the preambular statements to multilateral agreements in support of their provisions on the other hand, that have together facilitated the development of the normative framework for environmental governance as it has now emerged.

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