Environmental Protection and the Common Law
By John Lowry
Within the broad framework of the common law of tort, the torts of nuisance and the rule in Rylands v. Fletcher are central to the protection of the rights of landowners to use and enjoy their land without unreasonable interference and to be free from material damage to their interests. Negligence actions can also serve to promote the protection of personal and property interests. Yet toxic torts are often seen as being beset by theoretical and practical drawbacks. Overall there are serious concerns about the continued value of common law principles as an effective and coherent system that is geared to protecting the environment. Environmental law is increasingly developing its own statutory regimes to address a range of environmental problems. This accentuates the sense in which the aims and reach of these two different branches of the law appear to be diverging. Questions inevitably arise about the inter-relationship between private law sphere of tort and public regulatory schemes. The contributors to this volume of essays include many of the UK's leading academics in the relevant fields of private and public law. While the essays are broadly based, the focus of the book is on the challenges posed by accommodating tort with environmental law.
Publication Date: 7/14/2000