Research Handbook on Fundamental Concepts of Environmental Law
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Research Handbook on Fundamental Concepts of Environmental Law

Edited by Douglas Fisher

The quality and the strength of an environmental legal system is a reflection of the conceptual foundations upon which it is constructed. The Research Handbook on Fundamental Concepts of Environmental Law illuminates key aspects of environmental governance through the lens of their underlying dimensions: for example, the form, structure and language of international, regional and national instruments; the function of norms, objectives and standards; and the relevance of economic analysis and of integrated policy formulation.
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Chapter 9: The development of international environmental law by the International Court of Justice

Tim Stephens


According to the mainstream narrative, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has tended to be labelled a follower rather than a leader in the advancement of environmental law principles by responding slowly and cautiously to external developments, and by refraining from offering definitive conclusions on controversial environmental disputes. This chapter surveys the ICJ’s growing body of environmental jurisprudence and contends that there are strong indications, revealed particularly clearly in several recent decisions, that the ICJ has both the willingness and the capacity to address environmental matters more directly and substantively.

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