Introduction, Sypmosium Common Law Environmental Protection Academic Article uri icon


  • Is the common law a viable means of addressing environmental problems? The first wave of environmental common law scholarship, together with the law and economics and classical liberal literatures, at least put the issue on the table for discussion. The response from the critics raised some important criticisms, ones that needed to be answered. Whatever the failings of the environmental regulatory state, the common law has failings of its own, including the failure to protect many ecological resources in the period before the enactment of federal environmental law. In some instances administrative regulation may have hampered or "sabotaged" common law protections, but in others the common law failed on its own. With the generous support of the Roe Foundation for the Property and Environment Research Center, we sought to expand the literature beyond the first round of discussion and to prompt a serious look at the common law's potential, and potential weaknesses, in addressing environmental problems. We wanted to know where the case for the common law stood. The result is the set of articles and comments by the impressive group of authors included in this symposium.

author list (cited authors)

  • Adler, J. H., & Morriss, A. P.

publication date

  • January 2008