The Role of the Common Law in Defining and Protecting the Environment: A Prolegomenon
Steven J. Eagle
George Mason University School of Law
Case Western Reserve Law Review, Forthcoming
George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 08-16
This article surveys contemporary issues in defining and protecting the environment. It stresses the continuing relevance of common law methodology and doctrine. It reviews the development and imprecision of the term "environment," together with the influence of various philosophical and utilitarian views of environmentalism. These are juxtaposed against corresponding approaches to human flourishing. Finally, the article analyzes how contemporary notions devaluing meaning of property and property rights have contributed towards a lack of interest in developing common law principles - principally those of nuisance - in dealing with environmental issues.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44
Keywords: common law, contract, ecology, environment, environmental protection, environmentalism, nuisance, pollution, property rights, public choice, tort
JEL Classification: K10, K11, K32, K40, N50Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: March 11, 2008
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