Category Archives: Environmental Law


A Stern Warning

Professor David Campbell

Under the Climate Change Act 2008, the UK has made a binding commitment to an immensely ambitious and costly programme of ‘decarbonisation’ so that (let us allow for the purposes of argument) its anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 will be 80% less than they were in 1990. Putting aside the myriad other issues which an assessment of the wisdom of this commitment must take into account, its basic rationality depends on the likelihood of other countries making comparable commitments. Decarbonisation is intended to mitigate global warming. But global warming is, precisely, a global issue. Continue reading

(c) The Constructor

The Problem With Traffic Lights: Ex Post Facto Precaution

John Pearson

Firstly for those of you misled by the title into thinking this post was a rant about traffic management systems, my apologies but thank you for the addition to my viewing figures. For those of you still reading at this point, the post will consider the efficacy of the widely used traffic light system of environmental risk management in major extraction projects.

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Kopela - japanwhaling

Japan’s predicament with whaling

Dr Sophia Kopela

The Japanese Prime Minister caused some concern on Monday last week when he told Parliament that he aimed ‘for the resumption of commercial whaling by conducting whaling research in order to obtain scientific data indispensable for the management of whale resources’. This comes less than three months after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) delivered its Judgment in the long-running dispute concerning Japan’s whaling activities in the Antarctic. In this case brought before the ICJ by Australia against Japan, the World Court found that the Japanese whale research programme in the Antarctic (known as JARPA II) was in breach of Japan’s obligations in international law, and ordered Japan to revoke the relevant permits and to refrain from the granting of further permits in pursuance of this programme (see my previous blog).

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campbell badger3

The Legality of Badger Gassing

Prof David Campbell

In responses to excellent comments made on an earlier blog about the pilot badger culls, I have given it as my opinion that the prospects for successful judicial review of those culls are poor. This opinion is based on the nature of judicial review and is not in any way a substantive defence of the culls or the policy of ‘eradicating’ bTB that lies behind them. This policy is irrational in every sense other than the sense which guides judicial review, and the culls have been so completely a failure that I do think their continuation in their present form, and certainly their extension in that form to other parts of the UK, could be subject to successful judicial review. The definition of insanity attributed to Einstein – of repeating the same action in the expectation of a different result – has become very clichéd, but this is only because, as with all the clichés one cannot avoid using, it is profoundly true. To go on with these pilot culls without very substantially amending them, or to extend them in their present state, would, in my opinion, invite judicial review that had a real prospect of success.

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(c) Peter Trimming

What Are the Lessons of the Badger Culls for Regulatory Theory? A Response to Comments

Prof David Campbell

In this post, Professor David Campbell responds to some of the issues raised in the discussion which his earlier post on the recent pilot badger culls generated below the line here, and on Twitter.

I am grateful to those who have commented on my views on the badger culls, and, in particular, for the suggestion that the cull (as carried out) might be regarded as a contravention of the Berne Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats.

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(C) Killianwoods

What Are the Lessons of the Badger Culls for Regulatory Theory?

Prof David Campbell

Even those, like myself, who in principle support the culling of wild animals in support of improving the welfare of livestock will be, as I have been, reduced to despair by the DEFRA Independent Expert Panel’s evaluation of the pilot badger culls in parts of Gloucestershire and Somerset which was published last month. DEFRA implemented the culls on the basis that they would be humane and effective, but, though it expresses itself in the most restrained fashion, the Panel shows that everything that was predicted to go wrong with the culls has gone wrong.

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(C) Visit Greenland

Saving the whales: the ICJ judgment in the Whaling in the Antarctic case

Dr Sophia Kopela

Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v Japan: New Zealand intervening), ICJ Judgment of 31 March 2014.

On 31st March 2014, the International Court of Justice delivered its long-awaited judgment in the Whaling in the Antarctic case between Australia and Japan concerning the legality of the whaling activities of the latter in the Southern Ocean. The Court’s finding that Japan was indeed in breach of its obligations arising from the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) is certainly welcomed, though the ICJ could have elaborated more on aspects concerning the interpretation of this Convention. In this post, I will present an overview of the reasoning of the ICJ, and offer some comments concerning the significance and the potential impact of the judgment for whaling in general.

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