Definition - Environmental Law
Area of Law: Environmental Law

Environmental Law

Environmental Law is a complex and interactive group of international treaties, parliamentary statutes, conventions, regulations and common law which seeks to regulate the relationship between human kind and the natural world with the overarching aim of restricting the harm done to the natural world by human activity.

Environmental law can be divided into the distinct areas of pollution - control and removal, and resource management and conservation.

Laws relating to pollution are generally single environmental resource specific, that is, they deal with water, or with air, or soil, but not a combination.

Similarly laws relating to resource conservation and management deal with specific natural resources such as forestation or mineral deposits.

Environmental Law is drawn from the universal principles of ecology, conservation, stewardship, responsibility and sustainability.

Environmental Law has an international aspect as pollution is no respecter of state borders.

Accordingly international law has an important role.

Environmental Law is enshrined in a number of international treaties, protocols and conventions as well as national laws and the precedent of judicial decisions.

The development of Environmental Law has produced a number of guiding principles such as sovereignty, legal reciprocity, the polluter pays principle, the precautionary principle and the principle of sustainable development amongst others.

Environmental Law Specialists