Environmental Rule of Law: In Need of Coherence in Contested Terrain

15 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2020

Date Written: March 29, 2019


This article provides a succinct and critical analysis of “environmental rule of law” as an emerging concept. Following an outline of its origins, this brief places environmental rule of law within the contested landscape of rule of law theory and practice. It concludes with several critical observations and comments, explaining that those promoting environmental rule of law as a guiding framework need to recognize broader rule of law debates and acknowledge challenges associated with relying on a rule of law paradigm for implementing the sustainable development agenda. There exists a risk that environmental rule of law, like traditional “law and development” or rule of law programming, distracts valuable time, resources and institutions from the more difficult but less glamourous political and economic choices that actually sit at the center of development policy-making.

Keywords: rule of law, environmental law, sustainable development, environmental rule of law, international environmental law

JEL Classification: K13, K32

Suggested Citation

Wright, David V., Environmental Rule of Law: In Need of Coherence in Contested Terrain (March 29, 2019). McGill International Journal of Sustainable Development Law & Policy, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3527784

David V. Wright (Contact Author)

University of Calgary ( email )

University Drive
Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4

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