Disaster Law


Since late 2005, Boalt and a number of UC Berkeley departments, including civil and geologic engineering, public health, city and regional planning, and business, have begun to collaborate on the many responses that climate change and aging levee infrastructures have necessitated. Obviously, the August 2005 Katrina disaster has shown the nation that coordinated responses must be designed and implemented. UC Berkeley, with its leading research centers – located in California, the cutting-edge lens for environmental solutions – is aggressively pursuing policies that will guide the nation through the inevitable future disasters as global warming increases.

We have developed a number of resources to address these environmental crises.


In spring of 2006, Professor Farber designed a course, “Disasters and the Law: The Legal Implications of Hurricane Katrina,” culminating in a day-long presentation of student papers. The issues addressed by the class included disaster planning and prevention, torts/compensation, environmental law, land use planning, social justice, and tax and insurance/reinsurance.

Law Library Resources
The Berkeley Law library has an array of valuable resources.  Check out the key documents for the April 20, 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill here.

Jurisdynamics Blog

Boalt faculty participate in this blog, which discusses disaster issues, along with more general coverage of environmental law and other topics.


Disaster Law Library Database

Professor Farber, Boalt Hall library staff, and graduate students have assembled links to a variety of topics relating to the law’s response to natural disasters. The database integrates knowledge and experience from fields as diverse as urban planning, bankruptcy law, and wetlands banking. This is one way in which the legal community may be able to provide advice and assistance to governance and individuals.


UC Berkeley’s Center for Catastrophic Risk Management (CCRM)

This group consists of twelve professors in such varied disciplines as law, civil engineering, agricultural and resource economics, business, structural engineering, city and regional planning, management, environmental engineering, and geologic engineering. The issues addressed by this faculty group include the following:

Global disaster preparedness
Domestic security
Environmental management for crisis
Public health crisis management
Social and economic renewal
Infrastructure and technological renewal
Preparedness and recovery of impacted individuals
Emergency decision making
Landscape architecture and environmental planning
Related conferences include:

“Preliminary Report on the Performance of the New Orleans Levee Systems in Hurricane Katrina,” (November 16, 2005) co-sponsored by Boalt Hall School of Law
“Rebuilding a Sustainable City after Katrina,” (January 19, 2006) co-sponsored by Boalt Hall’s California Center for Environmental Law of Policy and Center for Social Justice
As the Flood Waters Recede: Environmental Justice and Katrina,” (March 10, 2006) presented by Boalt Hall’s Environmental Law Society and the Berkeley Journal of African American Law and Policy
“ReEnvisioning the Delta,” (March 16-17, 2006) presented by the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning
For more information, see the CCRM website at iber.berkeley.edu/ccrm/