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Legal Techniques for Dealing with Scientific Uncertainty in Environmental Law

PDF · Jorge E. Vinuales · Jul-6-2012 · 43 VAND. J. TRANSNAT'L L. 438 (2010)

This Article analyzes how scientific uncertainty is handled in international environmental law. It identifies ten legal techniques used for this purpose (i.e., precautionary reasoning; framework–protocol approach; advisory scientific bodies; law-making by treaty bodies; managerial approaches to compliance; prior informed consent; environmental impact assessment and monitoring; provisional measures; evidence; and facilitated liability) and links them to four different stages of development of environmental regimes (i.e., advocacy, design, implementation, and reparation). These techniques are illustrated by reference to some fifteen environmental treaties and other instruments as well as through a detailed case study focusing on the climate change regime.




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The Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law hosted a symposium called “The Role of Non-State Actors in International Law” at Vanderbilt University Law School in February 2013.

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