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Environmental Regulation and Social Justice

Professor Peter Swan
Carleton University Law School

While in North America and Europe, there appears to be a wide spread agreement on the value of ‘nature’ as one of our most important collective goods, there is little consensus on what constitutes a fair distribution of nature’s resources. Similarly there is little agreement on who should make the decisions with respect to this distribution. Such disagreements have fundamental repercussions for the justness of the legal regulation of the environment. Despite a recognition of limitations in the existing regime of environmental law, a significant part of the environmental movement continues to insist on the need to mobilize existing legal resources and to push for legal reforms to provide both a more effective form of environmental protection and for wider participation in decisions about the environment as a collective good. In this seminar course, we will examine the potential of environmental law to protect the environment and to promote an equalization of opportunities for an informed participation in environmental decision-making. In addition, we will explore a number of specific issues of justice that are raised by the contemporary legal regulation of the environment.

To access the full syllabus, please click on the PDF version of the Environmental Regulation and Social Justice syllabus.

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