Chapter 9, International Topics, International Environmental Law

All freely available websites are available below. Updated and new sources as well as new content follow the footnotes below, organized by section of the Coursebook.

Sample Exercises: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5. (Instructors: Feel free to download and edit as you see fit. Please email us for the answer key.)

International Environmental Law
FN #129, Heidi Frostestad Kuehl, A Basic Guide to International Environmental Legal Research (GlobaLex)
FN #133, Anne Burnett, International Environmental Law (ASIL's ERG)
FN #135, Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN)
FN #136, ENTRI
FN #137, EISIL
FN #138, EISIL, International Environmental Law
FN #139, Treaties/Soft Law Agreements (ASIL Wildlife Interest Group)
FN #140, United Nations Treaty Collection
FN #147, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law
FN #148, Heidi Frostestad Kuehl, A Basic Guide to International Environmental Legal Research (GlobaLex)
FN #153, Basel Convention website
FN #156, International Court of Justice (ICJ)
FN #157, International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
FN #158, World Trade Organization
FN #161, NAFTA Secretariat, choose “Dispute Resolution,” then “Decisions and Reports”
FN #164, European Court of Justice
FN #166, European Commission on the Environment
FN #167, ECJ Leading Cases on the Environment
FN #174, Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) (Law Library of Congress)
FN #175, Natural Resources Weblinks (University of Denver), now called Environmental & Natural Resources Law Links
FN #176, Center for International Environmental Law
FN #177, EarthJustice
FN #178, Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW)
FN #179, World Conservation Union (IUCN)
FN #180, EnviroLink Network
FN #181, World Directory of Environmental Organizations Online, site has not been updated since 2008
FN #182, Anne Burnett, International Environmental Law (ASIL's ERG)
FN #183, International Environmental Law and Policy (American University), the text is no longer available online; the links to documents remain
FN #184, Heidi Frostestad Kuehl, A Basic Guide to International Environmental Legal Research (GlobaLex)

Updated/New Sources & Content

References to page numbers in parentheses refer to pages in the Coursebook.

Section IV. International Environmental Law

Section IV.B.2.a. Sources of Law, Customary International Law, Secondary Sources

For one source of publicists’ commentary on the customary international law of the environment, see Restatement (Third) of Foreign Relations Law, Part VI. The Law of the Environment. (See page 243.)

In LegalTrac (LRI on Westlaw and LexisNexis), International Environmental Law is a broad category.  Again, narrower subject searches such as “marine pollution,”  “climate change,” and “precautionary principle” will retrieve more tailored results.  If you need to find articles on the international aspects of an environmental problem such as nuclear waste, add keywords such as “international OR transboundary” to exclude articles focusing on domestic nuclear waste problems.  Although the Index to Legal Periodicals uses the subject term “International environmental law and practice,” your approach should be the same.  Unless you’re researching trends in, or overviews of, international environmental law, choose more specific subject headings.   (See pages 244-45.)

New URL for Legaltrac, (See page 244, FN143.)

Section IV.B.2.d. Sources of Law, Customary International Law, IGO Documents

The collection International Environmental Soft Law:  Collection of Relevant Instruments ceased publication in 2003. (See page 247.)

Section IV.B.2.e. Sources of Law, Customary International Law, Decisions of International Tribunals

The International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) has now dealt with 18 cases, rather than 13.  Its influence has not been significant, as most states choose to arbitrate rather than take disputes to ITLOS.  The ITLOS site offers fairly sophisticated search capability, as researchers can limit their searches by type of document or by case.  (See page 247.)

On the T.M.C.  Asser Institute site, researchers can search environmental law cases from the ECJ and the Court of First Instance.  The T.M.C. Asser site does not usually contain the most current cases; therefore, while it can be used for some research, check CURIA or Westlaw or LexisNexis for more current decisions.  (See page 248.)

Section IV.B.2.f. Sources of Law, Customary International Law, Decisions of National Courts

The series International Environmental Law Reports now includes five volumes.

Another newly-digitized source for national cases on IEL is International Law Reports, from Justis Publishing (a subscription database).  These reports include a few IEL cases from national courts as well as those from international tribunals such as the ICJ, Inter-American Court of Justice, NAFTA Arbitration Tribunals, etc.

The subscription database International Law in Domestic Courts is now part of Oxford Reports on International Law.  It does not have a module for environmental law; however, several of the modules (e.g., Oxford Reports on International Law in Domestic Courts, Oxford Reports on International Human Rights Law, Oxford Reports on International Courts of General Jurisdiction) contain some cases on environmental law. (See page 248.) 

The UNEP’s ECOLEX database has now been expanded.  It contains about 180 cases as of December 2010, from a variety of courts (mostly, but not exclusively, English-speaking).  Full-text searching is enabled.  Detailed summaries link to the full-text versions of cases, where available. (See page 249.)

Section IV.B.2.g. Sources of Law, Customary International Law, National Legislation

The ECOLEX database of national environmental laws now permits full-text searching of its collection of laws.  Most of the abstracts for legislation are in English; all keywords (e.g., “precautionary principle”) and subjects (e.g., “pollution control”) are in English.

FAOLEX also permits full-text searching of its laws database. Unfortunately, neither ECOLEX nor FAOLEX lets you search the full text of laws when you use the Advanced Search tool.  Only the Simple Search lets you search the full text. (See page 249.)

More on using GLIN:
Instead of using the simple search box, always click on “More Search Options.”  You’ll see several boxes that let you specify the country, type of legislation (decree, regulation), and date of the material you want.  (See page 250.)