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Irresolute Clay

Shaping the Foundations of Modern Environmental Law

By: Richard Macrory
Media of Irresolute Clay
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Published: 30-04-2020
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 200
ISBN: 9781509928118
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £25.00
Online price : £22.50
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Loren Epson

About Irresolute Clay

At a time of profound change and rethinking, this book provides insights into how environmental law in the UK has developed into its current form, and considers challenges it will face in the future. Irresolute Clay is not a legal history or textbook, nor a conventional set of legal memoirs. Instead it offers a personal account of the inside stories as experienced by one of the key architects of contemporary environmental law. Taking a thematic approach, it charts fundamental tenets of the subject (such as environmental sanctions, the European dimension, developing the academic discipline of environmental law, and environmental courts and tribunals), from the beginnings of the modern environmental law era in the 1970s to the present day.

Table Of Contents

1. Early Legal Environmental Activism
2. The Windscale Inquiry
3. The Emergence of Environmental Lawyers in the UK
4. Environmental Law as an Academic Discipline: Early Sparks
5. Practising Environmental Law as a Barrister
6. Influencing Public Policy: Parliamentary Select Committees
7. A National Environmental Agency
8. Academic Environmental Law Comes of Age
9. Swirling Worlds: The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution
10. Environmental Courts and Tribunals
11. Reforming Regulatory Sanctions
12. The European Dimension
13. Brexit and Environmental Law


“This book tells from Richard's unique perspective through first hand accounts the history of modern environmental law as it grew to become a respected discipline. Few if any people have had quite such a lasting influence on environmental law. Politicians come and go but Richard has remained a resilient shaping influence.” –  Peter Kellett, Director of Legal Services, Environment Agency England, UKELA e-law

“Richard Macrory is absolutely the right person to give this account of how the environmental law that we now take for granted developed over the last 50 years: he played a substantial role in shaping it ... Who is this book for? It is academic enough for lawyers, with only a few eyelid-drooping moments of intense legal analysis for non-lawyer readers. It is informative for those who care to see how environmental law has developed, and delightful for those who treasure autobiography. Throughout, the Macrory humour sneaks in, often disguised heavily in weighty points of law.” –  Baroness Young, Civil Service World

“This is a remarkable book. It is not a textbook. It is a recollection of a lifetime's work in environmental law, but it is very much more. The remembered and collected detail is extraordinary. The reader can see environmental law growing over 50 years, with successes and failures. And perhaps the most useful of all, Professor Richard Macrory sets the reader thinking about where we go from here. The stuff is all here, the text is clear, concentrated reading, thought and reflection are required.” –  Alec Samuels, Journal of Planning & Environment Law

“It is beyond dispute that the world faces growing environmental problems - many highlighted in this book - but this is not a 'misery memoir'. Professor Macrory wears his knowledge lightly, and writes well and entertainingly. He has produced a work with accessibility as its hallmark. That ought to ensure its appeal to both lawyer and general reader, and guarantee its success.” –  Timothy Shuttleworth, Graya

“An enlightening and compelling account of the history of modern environmental law and its growth, from the unique perspective of one of the founding fathers of the subject.” –  Rivista Giuridica dell'Ambiente (Bloomsbury translation)

“This is an outstanding book. It deserves to be read widely. Those of us who are privileged to teach environmental law, and to influence the next generation of environmental lawyers, will find this book of immense value.” –  Áine Ryall, University College Cork, Irish Planning and Environmental Law Journal

“The account is interesting, well written … and is an entertaining read.” –  Stephen Tromans, 39 Essex Chambers, Journal of Environmental Law

“An illuminating and empathetic account of a formative era in British environmental law by one of the founding fathers of the subject.” –  Liz Fisher, Professor of Environmental Law, University of Oxford

“Environmental law supremo ... The tone is moderate. The mixture is dizzying.” –  Richard Gordon QC, Brick Court Chambers

“Institutional memory is notoriously lacking among policy makers – ministerial and official – in Whitehall. So, as the UK gets ready to “take back control” of environmental law from the EU, Richard Macrory provides invaluable insights into how that law developed.” –  Jill Rutter, Institute for Government

“Magisterial and magnificent, the father of environmental law in the UK on its making.” –  Philippe Sands QC, Professor of Law, University College London

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UKELA In Conversation with Richard Macrory