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Environmental Groups and Legal Expertise

Environmental Groups and Legal Expertise

By Carolyn Abbot



Environmental Groups and Legal Expertise explores the use and understanding of law and legal expertise by environmental groups. Rather than the usual focus on the court room, it scrutinises environmental NGO advocacy during the extraordinarily dramatic Brexit process, from the referendum on leaving the EU in June 2016 to the debate around the new Environment Bill in the first half of 2020. There is generally a weak understanding of both the complexity and the potential of legal expertise in the environmental NGO community. Legal expertise can be more than a tool for campaigners, and more than litigation: it provides distinctive ways of both seeing the world and changing the world. The available legal resource in the sector is not just a practical limit on what can be done, but spills into the very understanding of what should be done, and what resource is needed. Mutually reinforcing links between capacity, understanding, culture and investment affect legal expertise across the board. There are, however, pockets of sophisticated legal expertise in the community, and legal expertise was heavily and often effectively used in the anomalously law-heavy Brexit-environment debate. The ability to call on thinly spread legal expertise in a crisis was in part due to effective NGO collaboration around Brexit-environment. Praise for Environmental Groups and Legal Expertise 'This book marks the beginning of a new and interesting phase in legal scholarship. Although the book was probably not written to do so, it gently rattles the foundations of what we understand as worthwhile in legal research. ..We have only analysed environmental movements to the extent they turn to courts to initiate legal change. But as banal it is to note this, it should not take the courts to make something significant and relevant for (environmental) legal research. Nothing I have read in years attests to this more effectively than this book.' Journal of Environmental Law 'Offers s a tantalizing glimpse of how legal expertise 'has amore substantive role to playin understanding and shaping the world' (p. 178)... The insights on collaborative expertise and gateway intelligence are both fresh and important. It is fitting that two environmental lawyers who have looked beyond their own specializations into the domains of political science and expertise have produced such a rich case study on Brexit, NGOs, and the influence of cause lawyers. That such an excellent book is also published open access should, I hope, encourage a wide readership.'Journal of Law and Society

ISBN: 9781787358591


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