Fundamentals of Environmental Law

An Introduction to the Fundamentals of Environmental Law

Environmental law is a complicated area of the law, combining science, law, and government policy under one large umbrella! It attempts to shelter us from the heat of climate change while also helping us to develop laws for our land use, the protection of our wildlife, and the integration of new forms of energy. The …


What is Environmental Law?

Environmental law is a complicated and comprehensive area of the law. To give you a bit more understanding and perspective, here are two definitions of “environmental law”: Alberta’s Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) defines the environment as “the components of the earth and includes (i) air, land and water (ii) all layers of the …


Environmental Law in YOUR life

Now, can you think about some ways that you encounter environmental law on a day to day basis? Think about taking the garbage out at the end of the day. There are different rules about the types of garbage you can throw out. For example, you may not be able to throw out all of …


International Law

International law is a set of rules that are generally regarded as binding by countries around the world, especially in their relations with one another. However, it is a difficult concept to define. Let’s try by first taking a look at one of the most well-known definitions of international law – found in Article 38 …


The Canadian Constitution

Canada created its first constitutional document in 1867, known as the British North American Act or more simply, the Constitution Act, 1867.[1] This original document set out some of the founding principles of Canadian legislation and began dividing powers and responsibilities between the federal government and the provincial governments. This division of powers is called …


Statutes

What is a statute? A statute is a law that is enacted (written down) by either the Federal Parliament or the Provincial Legislatures. Canadian law is made up of a combination of both common law (judge-made law) and statute, however, if the two are in conflict, then the statute will come first.[1] Generally, before becoming …


Regulations

Regulations are the practical details that make it possible to enforce or understand how the large concepts, usually dealt with in statute, will work on the ground. For example, a regulation may include how much information is required in order to fulfill an obligation under a statute or they may set out the cost of …


Common Law

Common law is judge-made law developed through the court system. Originally, the common law did not include written texts, it was simply made up of court decisions. Today, however, more of the common law has been written down, whether in court decisions or confirmed in legislation. Two main ideas run through the common law: (1) …


The Court & Tribunal System in Alberta

In order to understand the court system in Alberta, it helps to remember a few things. First, the courts are hierarchical. This means that each level can overturn or change decisions from the lower levels. Second, each level of court has different rules about the type of legal matters it can hear. Some of these …


Important Environmental Law Concepts

Now that you understand more about the structure of our courts and legislative systems and how laws are created in our province and across the country, let’s go through some of the important legal concepts that are often discussed in the realm of environmental law. After reviewing these ideas, keep an eye out for how …


 

Fundamentals of Environmental Law

Curriculum Connections

Newsletter

Join our new AlbertaEnviroLaws Facebook group to ask questions, participate in discussions and other online engagement. Please share this widely so that the high school teachers and students in your circles hear about this great new resource for supplemental online learning. AlbertaEnviroLaws Facebook Group