The eJournal is sponsored by the Environmental Law Center at the Vermont Law School, home to one of the nation's leading environmental law programs. Since establishing the Environmental Law Center in 1978, Vermont Law School has been training people to be environmental leaders in government, nonprofits, corporations, and private practice - locally, nationally, and internationally. With the largest and deepest graduate environmental law program in the country, the Environmental Law Center offers the most comprehensive environmental law and policy curriculum in the nation for law students, and also confers the Master of Environmental Law and Policy (MELP) and Master of Laws in Environmental Law (LLM) degrees, as well as a joint JD/MELP degree. The Vermont Law School's Environmental Law Center is also home to the Institute for Energy and the Environment, Environmental Tax Policy Institute, Climate Legacy Initiative, Land Use Institute, Partnership for Environmental Law in China, and Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic.

Sponsored by the Environmental Law Center at Vermont Law School

"The Poor Have No Lawyers: Scotland's Non-Compliance with the Access to Environmental Justice ‘Pillar’ of the Aarhus Convention" Free Download
(2014) 4 King's Inns Student Law Review 105-132

BEN CHRISTMAN, Queen's University Belfast - School of Law

Legal rights without any means of vindication are easily neglected; access to justice is a fundamental requirement of a legal system which guarantees rights. In terms of environmental law, the Aarhus Convention seeks to establish ‘access to environmental justice’ for citizens as a means of improving the general enforcement of environmental law, and ensuring the realisation of rights to environmental information and participation in environmental decision-making.

This article examines whether Scotland complies with two particularly challenging requirements of the Aarhus Convention: that members of the public have standing to access procedures allowing them to challenge acts or omissions which contravene national environmental laws; and that such procedures are not ‘prohibitively expensive’.

It finds that Scotland complies with the standing requirement thanks to recent common law developments, but that the costs of environmental litigation in Scotland are prohibitively expensive. The article offers remedial suggestions for Aarhus-compliance, and suggests a range of further methods which could be used to take an exemplary approach to access to environmental justice in Scotland.

"Reflections on Rights Discourse Among American Native Tribes and Indian Tribes: A Comparative Legal Study with Special Reference to Odisha." Free Download

PARAMJYOTT SINGH, Utkal University - Post Graduate Department of Law

Indigenous tribes have faced systematic alienation from their ancestral domain and common property resources in land, water and forest resources due to the application of Eurocentric Anglo-Saxon epistemology of positivism in counter opposition to the narratives of local traditions of the tribes based on customary law. This is true of the treaty concluding Native American tribes as well as the numerous scheduled tribes of India, who were ruled mostly by Ex-feudatory Chiefs under British paramountcy. The symptomatic similarities of resource appropriation lay in the structured political and economic designs of the colonial state system in the early part of American and Indian history. In the Post 1950’s phase it was the extension of earlier legal stereotypes that perpetuated this system to cause great impoverishment and marginalization of the tribal people.

Contemporary history of tribal resistance movement therefore rejects the legal legacy of colonial state and demands the progressive inclusion of the right to self determination. It demands better compensation packages on an inter-generational basis, market rates and share-debenture stakes in assets lost, codification of customary rights and their eventual restitution, better resettlement and rehabilitation policy and legislative guarantees through Acts for tribal people experiencing involuntary displacement for public purpose takings under eminent domain laws etc.

In fact the academic and activist militancy has forced the United Nations to pass important resolutions on Indigenous concerns and nation states are following suit. This trend has forced international donor and financial organizations to make the ‘equator principle’ mandatory for all project funding. Therefore any realistic attempt to integrate tribal ethos into development praxis must sincerely begin the exercise by making the tribes real stakeholders at the core of the processes of development rather than mute spectators standing on the powerless periphery.

"The 'Rules of Engagement': A Socio-Legal Framework for Improving Community Engagement in Natural Resource Governance" Free Download
Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 2015 Forthcoming

TANYA HOWARD, University of New England (Australia) - The Australian Centre for Agriculture and Law

English Abstract: Increasing community action in natural resource governance is commonly seen as a pathway for improving decision making, enabling increased on-ground activity and facilitating widespread acceptance of government and industry legitimacy in managing natural resources. Other perspectives on community engagement see the promise of enriching existing or emerging democratic values by addressing the limitations of representative governance. While the practice of community engagement has been well described, more work needs to be done to understand the institutional factors that contribute to the expectations attached to these practices, and how the role of community in natural resource governance can be improved.

This article presents findings from a review of academic and practitioner literature on the topics of community engagement and natural resource governance. 127 articles were reviewed and the resulting conceptual framework is described. A thematic analysis of the data-set was then conducted to further clarify and extend the research question. The results reveal a persistent focus on practical aspects of engaging community, without sufficient analysis of how institutional dynamics such as legal requirements, policy drivers and implementation contexts impact on the realities of community environmental governance. The paper concludes with future research directions in the pursuit of improving the role of community in natural resource governance. It is expected that the insights generated through this article will have relevance to other modern democratic societies and be of interest to environmental lawyers, policy makers and community advocates.

Spanish Abstract: El aumento de la acción comunitaria en la gobernanza de los recursos naturales habitualmente se percibe como una vía para mejorar la toma de decisiones ya que permite aumentar la actividad sobre el terreno, y facilita la aceptación generalizada de la legitimidad del gobierno y la industria a la hora de gestionar los recursos naturales. Otras perspectivas de la implicación de la comunidad perciben la promesa de enriquecimiento que existe en los valores democráticos emergentes, abordando las limitaciones del gobierno representativo. Mientras que se ha descrito de forma correcta la práctica de la participación comunitaria, aún queda trabajo por delante para comprender los factures institucionales que contribuyen a las expectativas unidas a estas prácticas, y cómo mejorar el papel de la comunidad en la gestión de los recursos naturales.

Este artículo presenta los resultados de una revisión de la literatura académica y profesional sobre estos temas: participación comunitaria y gobierno de los recursos naturales. Tras revisar 127 artículos, se describió el marco conceptual resultante. A continuación, se realizó un análisis temático del conjunto de datos para aclarar y ampliar el tema de investigación. Los resultados revelan un foco persistente en los aspectos prácticos de la comunidad cooperante, sin ofrecer un análisis suficiente de cómo las dinámicas institucionales, como los requisitos legales, los impulsores de políticas y los contextos de implementación impactan en las realidades del gobierno medioambiental de forma comunitaria.


About this eJournal

Sponsored by: Institute for Energy and the Environment at the Vermont Law School. This eJournal distributes working and accepted paper abstracts dealing with the regulation, management, and distribution of natural resources. The eJournal will discuss a diverse array of natural resource topics such as public and private land use, wildlife and biodiversity, forest protection, mineral rights, parks and wilderness, the public trust doctrine, water and wetlands, and tribal lands and resources.


To submit your research to SSRN, sign in to the SSRN User HeadQuarters, click the My Papers link on left menu and then the Start New Submission button at top of page.

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Advisory Board

Natural Resources Law & Policy eJournal

Professor of Law, Northeastern University School of Law

Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz

Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law

Associate Professor of Law, University of Maine - School of Law

Robert F. Stanton Professor of Law and Director of the Environmental Law Program, University of Maryland - Francis King Carey School of Law

Assistant Professor of Law, Lewis & Clark Law School

David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair in Law, Vanderbilt University - Law School

Professor of Law and Director of the Natural Resources Law Center, University of Colorado Law School

Associate Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin Law School

Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law