The Role of the Common Law in Defining and Protecting the Environment: A Prolegomenon

44 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2008  

Steven J. Eagle

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Abstract

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.

Keywords: common law, contract, ecology, environment, environmental protection, environmentalism, nuisance, pollution, property rights, public choice, tort

JEL Classification: K10, K11, K32, K40, N50

Suggested Citation

Eagle, Steven J., The Role of the Common Law in Defining and Protecting the Environment: A Prolegomenon. Case Western Reserve Law Review, Forthcoming; George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 08-16. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1103984

Steven J. Eagle (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

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