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Contents:


  1. The Philosophical Foundations of Environmental Law
  2. The Philosophical Foundations of Environmental Law: Property, Rights and Nature
  3. Table of Contents
  4. The Continuing Relevance of Common Law Property – McGill Law Journal – Érudit
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The Philosophical Foundations of Environmental Law

Forgot password? Old Password. New Password. Password Changed Successfully Your password has been changed. Returning user. Request Username Can't sign in? Forgot your username? Enter your email address below and we will send you your username. The course will also follow developments in the reform of human rights law in the United Kingdom, and its content will reflect changes in a fast moving field of law.

The course will incorporate domestic UK law, as well as the relevant law of the European Convention on Human Rights and other international human rights norms which apply directly to UK human rights law. Teaching will take place over Michaelmas and Hilary Terms, and will consist of a combination of lectures, seminars, classes and tutorials. Learning outcomes: by the end of the course, students will: have a sound understanding of the significance of human rights and civil liberties, and their theoretical dimensions; be familiar with and able to apply the relevant provisions to practical problems concerning a range of the rights and liberties; have a knowledge and understanding of the human rights system as a whole; and have an understanding of the institutional procedural requirements for bringing human rights claims.

Key issues are examined within their historical, social, economic, and theoretical context. For example, what is the purpose of the consanguinity restrictions on marriage and should those have been extended to civil partnership? What does it mean to say a child is a rights-holder? Should the courts and Parliament care that these people think that legal benefits and obligations exist when they do not?

The syllabus lists the precise topics covered. Our focus is on the substantive law, though an awareness of the family justice system in practice adds an important additional perspective to key debates. We currently examine through essay questions only so as to enable students the opportunity to devote sufficient attention to the interplay between law and the larger social and policy issues that are critical to an in-depth understanding of the Family Law field. Family law is inter-disciplinary in terms of the range of materials students are expected to read and the nature of the arguments and debates with which students are expected to engage.

This includes working with social science research, government publications, and non-government public and social policy materials. Family law involves an examination of statutory law, which is more extensive than in many other subjects. Property law and trusts law are relevant to discussing the legal position of relationships outside of marriage and civil partnership.

Students may find the background from having studied these as part of their core Land Law and Trusts courses useful, though the Family Law perspective is distinctive. Underlying conceptual ideas and a little substantive detail covered in Contract Law are also relevant to private ordering and adult intimate relationships more generally. Discussion of contentious issues in parenthood and disputes over who should raise and see children when interested adults do not live together residence and contact disputes includes children born as a result of fertility treatment, which is discussed from a different perspective as part of the Medical Law and Ethics course.

Examination of the legal approach to child protection includes limited discussion of public authority liability in negligence, as explored in Tort Law. This option studies the history of the judicial system and sources of English law and of the principal features of the branches of law that are today known as tort, contract, land law, and trusts. The course is taught using a selection of primary sources in translation where necessary and of academic literature. The timespan covered varies with the particular topics, but is roughly between the thirteenth and the nineteenth century.

This period, of course, contains a large number of separable issues, and the course is designed so that individuals can follow to some extent their own preferences, both amongst and within the major heads of study. The examination paper contains an above average number of questions, currently 12 , which reflects this flexibility. The treatment of the subject is primarily legal, though the political, social and economic constituents in the story are referred to whenever this assists our perception of specifically legal ideas.

The teaching presumes a familiarity with the notions of property, tort and contract law and is virtually exclusively taught as a final year option. The legal history does not serve as an introduction to the modern law; if anything, the converse is the case. It is in this sense an advanced course; the feedback to the modern law is conceptual or theoretical, though a study of the history may occasionally illuminate a modern problem.

There is, however, absolutely no need to have studied any other kind of English history, nor is familiarity with foreign languages necessary since the course is designed around translated materials. Learning outcomes: an understanding of the origins of English law and the judicial system and a more specialised knowledge of developments in English law during the period between the thirteenth and nineteenth century, including an understanding of relevant social, political and economic contexts.

This course takes as its subject matter a sale of goods by a seller in one country to a buyer in another, and examines the contractual relations between various parties that may be involved in the making and performance of such a sale. Accordingly, it is concerned first with the relations between buyer and seller, emphasising the special features of the sale which are due to its international character.

Secondly, it is concerned with the carriage of goods from the seller to the buyer, once again emphasising the special rules which govern international carriage. So as to keep the course within reasonable bounds, it deals only with carriage by sea; it does not cover the special rules governing international carriage by air, road and rail.

The Philosophical Foundations of Environmental Law: Property, Rights and Nature

Thirdly, the course deals with an aspect of banking law. Looked at from another angle, the course is concerned with the special problems that arise in overseas sales because the parties are often comparative strangers to one another, and because there is often a long interval of time between the despatch of goods and their receipt. During that time, the parties are exposed to certain financial and physical risks. One major topic for discussion is the way in which the law and commercial practice seek to reconcile these conflicting desires. So far as the physical risks are concerned, there is the possibility that the goods may be lost or damaged or delayed in transit.

Sometimes that risk has to be borne by one of the parties to the contract of sale; sometimes it has to be borne at least in part by the carrier; and exactly how it is to be borne has obvious repercussions on the decisions to be made by each party with regard to insurance. Although its name might suggest something different, the course is about a branch of English domestic law.

Our concern is with the English rules governing international transactions though these rules are often applied to contracts which have no physical connection with this country. It follows that the materials and methods of this course are almost entirely those of the traditional law course, i. Internationally accepted customs and practices figure prominently in the banking section of the course; but the course contains nothing that anyone with the standard equipment of a common lawyer cannot handle.

The course has three principal attractions. Firstly, it raises not only complex and fascinating analytical issues but also fundamental issues of legal policy. Secondly, a study of International Trade will help candidates very considerably with their understanding of the law of contract, particularly in the areas of privity, breach, frustration and remedies.

Thirdly, the course forms a useful background to one of the most intellectually satisfying types of legal practice. Lecturing and other guidance is important in this subject because there are no suitable student books for students to study it for themselves at the right level. Lectures in Michaelmas Term usually cover carriage by sea and on letters of credit.

There are handouts for each set of lectures. For this there are separate lists of cases and questions. Issues in labour law affect most people during their working lives. What rights does a worker have if he or she is dismissed? Is there a right to strike? What can the law do about discrimination? This is a rapidly changing field, particularly in the past decade, which has witnessed a transformation in labour law. Most major industrial disputes are now fought out in the courts rather than on the shop-floor, in stark contrast with the traditional view that strikes are best resolved by the parties themselves.

Of growing importance is the impact of EU law on British labour law, particularly in the field of discrimination. Labour law will be of considerable interest to anyone who is concerned with the interaction between law, politics and society. All British governments in recent decades have regarded policies on labour law as central to their political programmes.

Labour Law is also useful in practice. No-one should be qualified as a lawyer - professionally or academically - who has not mastered its principles. The course covers the law concerning individual employment law including discrimination law , as well as trade unions, industrial action and collective bargaining. The student is not expected to acquire a detailed knowledge of the whole of this relatively large and complex field, but to pick out the central themes, and integrate them into a wider social and theoretical context.

The main relevant statutes are supplied to examination candidates. It has normally been the case that candidates are not expected to have detailed knowledge of any legislation which has not received the Royal Assent by the beginning of the calendar year in which the examination takes place. Candidates will be required to answer four questions from a choice of twelve.

Table of Contents

Media Law is a fast developing and increasingly high profile area of law. It is an area that allows scholars to look at advanced issues relating to freedom of expression and the right to communicate, and the way these rights intersect with competing interests. This introduction will provide a theoretical background against which the later topics will be evaluated. The topics in the course can be grouped into three broad categories:.

Do public figures have weaker rights to reputation? Will media coverage prejudice a jury trial? When do journalists have a right not to disclose the identity of confidential sources? Why do we have different regulatory systems for television and newspapers and where should the internet fit in this scheme of things? How much media should any person or company be allowed to control? In different weeks, the course will build on areas already studied in Tort Law, Criminal Law and Constitutional and Administrative Law.

The course will analyse these various issues in the light of the political and social functions and responsibilities of the media. In doing this, aspects of media theory and policy may be drawn on in the readings and discussion. At the end of this course students will have a good understanding of the key debates and principles underlying the legal controls on media and communications.

This course covers selected legal, ethical and medical issues arising in medical practice and research. It focuses on issues of consent, autonomy and best interests of the patient and other interested parties, and how these create intersections with other areas of law, such as tort, criminal and personal property law. Four core areas of medical law are covered: intentional torts and clinical negligence; reproductive medicine and rights; organ donation and transplantation; and end of life issues.

Lectures cover both the legal and ethical issues arising in those areas of medicine, and assume knowledge of the relevant law already covered in the Law Moderations Criminal Law course, and the FHS Tort Law course. Students will be encouraged to take a critical approach and consider where the law may require reform, drawing on the legal and ethical literature to support their views. The course also includes lectures on reasoning in ethics, which will cover various methodologies in ethics for determining about how to act, to give students a grounding in how conclusions about ethical issues are reached and critiqued , and on a range of issues in medical ethics not covered elsewhere in the course.

The subject is through five tutorials and a series of 20 lectures. The lectures are intended to be interactive and students should be expect to be called upon to participate in discussion and debate. Lectures will cover the syllabus, and a number of guest lecturers will also speak on topics of interest in medical ethics. These guests will include barristers, medical practitioners, religious leaders and members of the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics.

Learning outcomes: a critical understanding of the principal areas of medical law and of the social and ethical considerations relating to his field of law.

The Continuing Relevance of Common Law Property – McGill Law Journal – Érudit

The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to the fundamental questions of moral philosophy and some central issues in political philosophy. The course is divided into two parts: Part A covering the nature of moral philosophy, and Part B dealing with the topics in political philosophy. Part A takes a philosophical perspective on fundamental questions about the nature of morality.

Part A also examines three of the most prominent approaches to the nature of morality—-consequentialism, deontology and virtue ethics. Finally, it raises questions about our relationship to morality: Do we really have the freedom to choose whether or not to act in the morally right way? Does morality always provide us with a permissible course of action? Part B examines some central topics in political philosophy, namely, democracy, liberty, equality and justice. The objective of this course is to provide students with an overview of the law of personal property, focusing in particular on underlying concepts and subjecting those concepts to a detailed, critical examination.

This special subject may not be taken by any student who is also taking the standard subject Principles of Commercial Law. Issues of PIL and international justice are at the forefront of public debates to a greater degree than ever before. International law provides the technical and intellectual underpinnings to large areas of international co-operation, including the prosecution of war crimes both internationally and nationally , the legality of the use of force against States e.

Syria and Iraq , environmental protection, the scope of human rights protection, the economic effects of globalisation promoted through the work of institutions such as the World Trade Organization, the settlement of land and maritime boundary disputes, and the resolution of jurisdictional conflicts arising in the context of economic regulation by States. PIL today not only impacts and shapes decisions by States to a greater degree than ever before, but it also penetrates into the national legal order — often through national court decisions — to give rights to individuals and corporations to an extent that is unrivalled in the history of the subject.

These developments have in turn led to the growth of lawyers and law firms who specialise in the practice of PIL. This is in addition to the demand for PIL lawyers in governments, inter-governmental organizations such as the United Nations and the large number of UN Specialized Agencies , and non-governmental organizations. For those who do not intend to follow a career in international law, the subject provides a broad sweep of issues which illuminate not merely questions of international law but the problems and processes of the world of diplomacy.

The PIL course at Oxford covers the major areas of general international law and is not over-specialized. The lectures cover the core tutorial topics on the nature and sources of international law, the law of treaties, international legal personality, jurisdiction and immunities, State responsibility, the use of force and the procedures for peaceful settlement of disputes.

The Rights of Nature- Constitutional Environmental Law

In addition, the lectures introduce students to selected special subject areas such the law of the sea, international humanitarian law and investment arbitration. The consideration of these subject areas takes place within their broader policy context and having regard to recent experience. Although in principle the syllabus is extensive, both the teaching practice and the mode of setting the FHS paper avoid any drawbacks which might result from this wide scope. Learning outcomes: an understanding of a variety of areas of Public International Law selected from a list which covers laws relating to international relations, international economic issues and human rights, amongst others.

The Roman law option focuses on set texts from the Institutes and Digest. Its primary aim is to understand those texts and the ideas and methods of the great Roman jurists who wrote them. The secondary aim is, by comparison, to throw light on the law of our own time. It allows students to study in some detail the outlook and methods of reasoning of the classical jurists, who provide the models on which professional legal argument has ever since been based. The lectures are based, so far as the Roman law is concerned, on the set texts, in English translation.

Indeed, one of the advantages of this course from the point of view of students is that the body of relevant texts and other authoritative material is more limited than it is in most, perhaps all, the other options. It is possible to concentrate on detail. In the examination, candidates are required to comment on selections from the set translated texts and on questions regarding the literature provided in relation to the texts. Knowledge of Latin is not required or necessary; sensitivity for philological dimensions of the original texts, where relevant, is.

Much literature will quote Latin phrases but in practice this should not cause problems; for sources on the reading list, translations are provided either in the sources or separately. By its nature, this course attracts and is suitable for only small numbers. This fact tends to dissolve the distinction between tutorials and lectures.

However, it remains true that the backbone of the course is an exposition of the set texts, supported by further lectures on associated topics. Learning outcomes: an understanding of the concepts of Roman law and of the ideas and methods of classical jurists, and a capacity to reflect on their influence on English common law. Taxation pervades every area of life, including property, family, employment and business affairs. Tax law is well suited to interdisciplinary study, intersecting as it does with economics and politics. It also offers rich opportunities for the study of many areas of law, given that tax factors have frequently influenced development of legal concepts and principles.

In turn, tax laws are shaped by concepts of property, commercial, corporate and employment law and approaches to drafting and interpretation of legislation. This course introduces students to selected issues in the law of taxation, chosen to illuminate fundamental concepts and to link to other parts of the undergraduate law course. The focus is on tax law, but the technical issues are examined by focusing on themes and principles and placing the law within its political and economic context, in order to create an understanding of the requirements of a tax system and the difficulties encountered in designing, legislating for and administering such a system.

Students taking this course are required to use a variety of sources, ranging from statute and case law to easily accessible literature from other disciplines, such as economics and political theory, of which no prior knowledge is required. All the material is non-mathematical and no computation is required in any part of the course. The approach taken and topics chosen ensure that the course is of interest to a wide range of students. Those entering the legal profession will find that knowledge of taxation is of value whether they intend to specialise in taxation, for which there are many opportunities, both in the City and in private client work, or as background to practice in other areas.

The course will provide a valuable intellectual framework for the tax element in the professional legal training courses. Students interested in careers outside the legal profession will also find that the tax course provides a thorough grounding in a topic of central importance to business, politics and government. The course examines the objectives and functions of a "good" tax system and how these affect what society chooses to tax. The focus of the course is on direct taxes - income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax in relation to individuals and businesses and the application of these taxes to private trusts.

The issue of tax avoidance is of central concern in most tax systems. The course examines the way in which our tax system has lent itself to ingenious tax avoidance or tax planning? The course is taught by lectures and co-ordinated classes commencing in Michaelmas and continuing to 4th week in Hilary.

These lectures and classes are key elements of the teaching. The five tutorials are also spread through Michaelmas and Hilary. Learning outcomes: an understanding of the fundamental concepts and instruments of taxation law and of the political and economic contexts within which taxation law operates.

The course explores the foundations of property and trusts, and also developments going beyond the core topics typically explored in core or undergraduate courses. It combines conceptual and functional analysis of doctrine with more abstract theoretical enquiry. Ideas and perspectives are drawn from moral and political philosophy, history, and economics, as well as more formally legal, comparative and jurisprudential analyses.

Some knowledge of the legal details of property in one or other legal system will be essential for students taking the course. Much use will be made of English law and other common law systems, but we will also draw upon civilian legal systems in our explorations. The course gives students an opportunity to study fundamental institutions of private law with wide ramifications in the social sciences and humanities. Students will be exposed to the widest possible range of research and teaching in property law and trusts drawing on visiting scholars as well as Oxford faculty.

The topics discussed are all ripe for exploration as areas of future research. Students will be provided with course materials accessible through the internet and the intranet, together with material in university and college libraries. Students will explore the reading materials and address a set of thematic questions, on which they will be asked to prepare brief notes. Seminars and lectures will be augmented with tutorials; in tutorial weeks students will be asked to prepare essays on given topics and meet in small groups with teachers for debate and discussion.

Assessment will take the form of a three hour written examination at the end of the course. Candidates will be required to answer three essay questions from a wide choice of topics, which may cut across themes covered in the course.


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Candidates will be expected to show a detailed knowledge of relevant theoretical debates and also applicable legal materials, including judgments in cases, and statutory and constitutional provisions. They will also need to display an ability to synthesise complex materials and to present their own analyses of the arguments. The aim of this option is to examine a number of the most significant issues affecting the legal regulation of children, children and their families, and families more generally.

The readings have been selected to integrate deep, theoretical debates with contemporary legal, policy, and empirical developments. We are particularly concerned to understand the embeddedness and broader impact of the governing law. Our intention is that, after completing the option, you are uniquely empowered and challenged to both critique and reassess the value of theoretical arguments made in this context, as well as reconsider how best to address real world problems.

This option will naturally appeal to students with a particular interest in family law and human rights law. Do parents have rights? It will also appeal to students who enjoy blending theoretical and conceptual arguments with the practical messiness of everyday life. Finally, it will appeal to students who are interested in bringing international sources of law to bear on such problems. This course aims to provide an in-depth understanding of remedies in a commercial context, interpreting that phrase in a wide sense.

So it will cover remedies for civil wrongs i. The course will build on knowledge which all law undergraduates ought to have and will enable students to look in greater depth at matters dealt with at undergraduate level. The approach will be avowedly traditional in that the focus will be on case analysis and doctrine. As with the Restitution of Unjust Enrichment course, with which this will dovetail, the anticipation is that developments at the cutting edge of the law will be constantly debated.

An important and novel aspect of the course will be to consider claims at common law and equity alongside one another, so as to see the similarities and differences. Learning outcomes: a comprehensive understanding of remedies for civil wrongs in a commercial context. The course consists of a comparative study of major areas of the company laws of the UK, continental Europe in particular, Germany and the United States as well as an assessment of the work done by the European Union in the field of company law.

The three areas or jurisdictions selected for comparative study have, collectively, had a very significant impact on the development of company law throughout the world. An understanding of these thus assists students in understanding both the content of, and influences upon, many others.


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The approach taken is both functional and comparative, looking at a series of core problems with which any system of corporate law must deal, and analysing, from a functional perspective, the solutions adopted by the systems in question. The course seeks to situate these solutions in the underlying concepts and assumptions of the chosen systems, as these often provide an explanation for divergences.

Such a comparative study is intended to enable students to see their own system of company law in a new and more meaningful light, and to be able to form new views about its future development. Finally, a study of the ways in which the European Union is developing company law within its boundaries is also important, not only as illustrating, by a review of the harmonisation programme, the benefits to be derived from a comparative study in practice, but also because it shows new ways in which corporate vehicles can be developed to meet particular policy objectives.

The course assumes students have knowledge of the basic structure of corporate laws, such as would be gained from an undergraduate course regardless of jurisdiction. Learning outcomes: an understanding of 1 the functions of corporate law, 2 the reasons why it may differ across jurisdictions, and 3 the operation of corporate law in the UK, US, and EU, together with a capacity to apply that knowledge to other jurisdictions.

Environmental law is the law of environmental problems. As issues such as climate change, air quality and the VW emissions scandal highlight, environmental problems raise operational and conceptual challenges for governments, businesses and communities. These challenges are often centre stage and not easily contained or managed.

The failure to adequately deal with environmental problems has been disastrous for communities, businesses and governments. Having legal expertise in environmental law matters, but environmental problems involve a level of complexity lawyers are not often used to. They involve many different people, changing physical conditions, a range of different socio-political values, and knowledge of them is often limited.

Traditional legal doctrines and concepts have not been developed with problems like this in mind. As this is the case, environmental law has evolved as a complex body of law at the national and international level through adapting legal ideas and developing new concepts to respond to these problems. This course aims to foster legal expertise in this area through a comparative study of environmental law techniques.

Particular attention is given to: understanding environmental problems and the types of legal issues they give rise to; developing skills in navigating environmental legislation and case law; developing an appreciation for the interaction between local, national, international and transnational regimes; and developing a sophisticated appreciation for legal reasoning in this area.

This course will be of interest to: students who are wanting to deepen their environmental law knowledge through in-depth comparative study; students exploring law and society interrelationships; and students who want to develop their skills for dealing with environmental law in different areas of legal practice. No prior knowledge is needed to do the course.

The right to equality is ubiquitous in human rights instruments in jurisdictions throughout the world. Yet the meaning of equality and non-discrimination are contested. Is equality formal or substantive, and if the latter, what does substantive equality entail? Which groups should be protected from discrimination and how do we decide? How do we capture conceptualisations of equality in legal terms and when should equality give way to other priorities, such as conflicting freedoms or cost?

The aim of this course is to examine these and other key issues through the prism of comparative law. Given the growing exchange of ideas across different jurisdictions, the comparative technique is a valuable analytic tool to illuminate this field. At the same time, the course pays attention to the importance of social, legal and historical context to the development of legal concepts and their impact. The first half of the course approaches the subject thematically, while the second half of the course addresses individual grounds, ending with a consideration of remedial structures.

Theory is integrated throughout the course, and the relationship between grounds of discrimination and other human rights is explored. International human rights instruments are also examined. Employment related discrimination is generally dealt with in the International and European Employment Law course. The course does not require previous knowledge of equality or discrimination law. Students are encouraged to participate in the activities of the Oxford Human Rights Hub, which is directed by Professor Fredman. Guest seminars organised by the Oxford Human Rights Hub take place on alternative Tuesdays at lunchtime during term time.

The Hub website features daily blogs on cutting edge new developments in human rights and equality law, and students on the course are encouraged both to read and to contribute to the blog. The Hub also produces webinars and podcasts on pressing current issues in comparative human rights and equality law. Human rights issues are both universal and contested.

As human beings, we should all have human rights; yet there remains deep disagreement about the meaning and application of human rights. Courts in different jurisdictions face similar human rights questions; yet the answers often differ. Introduction 2. Nature and the State of Nature 3. Commerce, Capitalism and the Common Law 4. Legal Regulation and Environmental Values 5. The Changing Face of Environmental Law.