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Advanced Introduction to International Environmental Law

Ellen Hey

This Advanced Introduction provides both an overview and a critical assessment of international environmental law (IEL) written by one of the leading authorities in this field. An invaluable entry point to this complex area of the law, the book pinpoints essential principles and institutions and distils the vast and often technical corpus of legal doctrine whilst also offering insights that stimulate critical thinking. Covering the origins, substantive content, institutional structure and accountability mechanisms of IEL, the book discusses substantive and procedural fairness, thus exploring questions of distributive justice, accountability and legitimacy. Providing an invaluable entry point to this complex area of the law, this book will prove a useful resource for professors, practitioners and policy-makers needing to quickly gain an understanding of the core principles of this multi-faceted topic. It will also serve as a stimulating introductory text for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
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Ellen Hey


The book in your hands has the character of a long essay that attempts to illustrate and assess where international environmental law stands at the beginning of the twenty-first century. It focuses on themes that play a role in international environmental law discourse, instead of providing a systematic overview of international environmental regimes.

The text is indebted to the work of many of my colleagues who research and write in the area of international environmental law, even if this is not reflected in the text because it lacks references to their work. I thank my colleagues who work in the area of international environmental law for their many valuable publications and much cherished opportunities for discussion. I am particularly indebted to Jutta Brunnée, Jonas Ebbesson and Louis Kotzé who generously gave me their time by reading through the whole draft manuscript and offering their thoughts on how it could be improved. Alessandra Arcuri equally generously gave me her time and thoughts with regard to the parts of the text related to the relationship between international environmental law and international trade and investment law. Thanks a million Jutta, Jonas, Louis and Alessandra. Needless to say the usual disclaimer applies.

The exclusion of references from the text is related to the publisher’s request to limit them. I have perhaps taken this request to the extreme by including references only to what I consider to be important texts, by non-lawyers or bodies, that have influenced how we think...

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