The Legally Disruptive Nature of Climate Change

29 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2017

See all articles by Elizabeth C. Fisher

Elizabeth C. Fisher

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

Eloise A.K. Scotford

University College London - Faculty of Laws

Emily Barritt

The Dickson Poon School of Law

Date Written: March 2017

Abstract

Climate change gives rise to disputes and problems not easily addressed by existing legal doctrines and frameworks. This is because it is a polycentric problem; the assessment of future climate impacts must deal with uncertainty; climate change is socio‐politically controversial; and addressing climate change requires recognising a dynamic physical environment. As such, climate change can be thought of as legally disruptive in that it requires lawyers and legal scholars to reconcile the legal issues raised by climate change with existing legal orders. The legal disruption catalysed by climate change has not only led to the creation of new legal regimes but also given rise to a multitude of legal disputes that require adjudication. A study of some of these cases highlights the need for active and deliberate reflection about the nature of adjudication and the legal reasoning embedded in it when confronted by a disruptive phenomenon like climate change.

Keywords: Climate change, courts, adjudication

Suggested Citation

Fisher, Elizabeth C. and Scotford, Eloise A.K. and Barritt, Emily, The Legally Disruptive Nature of Climate Change (March 2017). The Modern Law Review, Vol. 80, Issue 2, pp. 173-201, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2929380 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-2230.12251

Elizabeth C. Fisher (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

St. Cross Building
St. Cross Road
Oxford, OX1 3UJ
United Kingdom
01865 276749 (Phone)

Eloise A.K. Scotford

University College London - Faculty of Laws ( email )

Gower St
London WC1E OEG, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Emily Barritt

The Dickson Poon School of Law ( email )

Somerset House East Wing
Strand
London, England WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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