Environmental law is a complex field of law that involves practice with legal doctrine, legislative, judicial and regulatory issues related to environmental protection. It represents an inherently multidisciplinary subject, therefore also demanding understanding of technical and political aspects surrounding policy-making, socio-economic analysis and environmental science.
Environmental law encompasses a series of sectorial regulatory areas, such as pollution control, land-use, water resources, waste management, deforestation, development consent, energy and climate change, to name some. In addition, such subjects are dealt with at different law, policy and enforcement scales (locally, regionally, nationally and internationally), implicating an array of institutional actors (government, environmental agencies, courts, international bodies) and conflicting interests (developers, experts, community groups, neighbourhoods).
CLOSER aims at contributing to socio-environmental research by also addressing the role of law and legal institutions in environmental management, in particular in the development-environmental debate. The purpose is three-fold: first, to analyse and compare legal frameworks in different contexts and jurisdictions; second, to raise questions about the justice, transparency and legitimacy of decision-making processes implicated; and third, to explore the linkages between environmental law scholarship and other environmental sciences.
An interdisciplinary approach at the interface of political economy, anthropology, geography and ecology. It seeks to provide understandings of socio-environmental issues with an explicit concern with unequal power relations and both material and discursive struggles shaping those issues, thereby avoiding simplistic and normative explanations of environmental change and environmental conflicts.