Turning Tides: Changing research in Lincoln Law School

Following a period of significant staffing changes, we decided to organise our research around five thematic clusters in areas of recognised research strength: international law, human rights, criminal justice, environmental law, and corporate/ commercial law. Our aim is to stimulate grassroots research in line with the plans and career stage of researchers in the School, with experienced researchers providing mentoring and peer support. Opportunities for engagement in cross cutting research is enabled through the use of international and external research networks like the Lincoln Centre for Environmental Justice, East Midland Police Academic Network, and the Earth Systems Law network. Leads of Research Units, Groups and Centres: Richard Barnes (Director of Research); Andra Le Roux Kemp (Director of Post-Graduate Studies) Cluster leads: Nicolas Kang Riou (Human Rights); Max Brookman-Byrne (International Law); Richard Barnes (Environmental Law); Karen Harrison (Criminal Justice); Nkechi Azinge (Commercial/Corporate)


Prof Richard Barnes, Professor of International Law

Karen Harrison, Professor of Law and Penal Justice


 

A Systems-Based Approach to Green Criminology

Green criminology is grounded in debates regarding the ethics, legality, and reality of harms vis-à-vis the lives of non-human animals and the environment. The complex, uncertain, and ambiguous nature of these harms reveals the need for a more holistic approach: one that more firmly ties together social and ecological systems. In this paper, key aspects of systems thinking (e.g., leverage points) are outlined to illustrate the value of a systems-based approach. While not completely absent from green criminology literature, systems thinking offers a well-spring of underutilized ideas, concepts, theories, and frameworks that warrant further attention. A systems-based approach to green criminology is presented as a means to (re)imagine, (re)define, (re)examine, and respond to environmental harms.


University of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research

Wesley Tourangeau, University of Lincoln, School of Social and Political Sciences

Professor Elizabeth Kirk Joins Prof Des Fitzgerald, University of Exeter and Prof Tanya Wyatt, University of Northumbria to talk about all things environmental law on the BBC Radio 3 Green Thinking Podcast this week.

Professor Elizabeth Kirk, of the Lincoln Centre for Ecological Justice and Lincoln Law School, joined Prof Des Fitzgerald, University of Exeter and Prof Tanya Wyatt, University of Northumbria to talk about all things environmental law on the BBC Radio 3 Green Thinking Podcast this week.

Professor Kirk discussed the challenges of making and enforcing environmental law, drawing examples from AHRC funded research on the regulation of offshore oil and gas installations in the Arctic, promotion of energy efficiency measures, and tackling plastics pollution and the climate crisis. The discussion drew out the challenges of making laws that are suitable to address a rapidly changing environment, the need for clear standard setting to address greenhouse gas emissions and the need for independent inspection and enforcement mechanisms to hold States to account for breaches of their international obligations.

When asked what she would like to see as the outcome from COP26, Professor Kirk suggested that rather than asking States to commit to overarching reductions in greenhouse gases, we need clear standards on, for example, insulation for homes and on emissions from transport and indeed transport planning, or, at the very least, a mechanism to establish such standards.

Collaborating on Climate Change

This week (1st-5th November), the University is hosting Climate Week, to engage staff, students and members of the public in climate action, in support of COP26, the climate change conference taking place in Glasgow.

On Wednesday 3rd November (1.45-5pm), the ‘Collaborating on Climate Change’ event is taking place in Stephen Langton Building (followed by drinks and networking) will showcase UoL Climate Change research.

We’d encourage colleagues across the University to attend and sign up via this link:

Collaborating on Climate Change: showcasing UoL Climate Change research Tickets, Wed 3 Nov 2021 at 13:45 | Eventbrite

Improving Energy Efficiency: The Significance of Normativity

The failure of the global community to effectively address many large-scale environmental challenges calls into question the existing regulatory approaches. A large number of these challenges are diffuse issues which have, over the years been targeted by significant and sizable regulatory frameworks and yet the challenges persist—energy efficiency is one such issue and is the focus of this article. Increasing monitoring or enforcement to achieve improvements in regulatory compliance is too expensive in the context of diffuse problems due to the scale and costs such activities would entail. We suggest a focus on the fit between regulatory frameworks and norm creation may identify more fruitful routes to regulatory reform. Drawing on the ‘interactional account of law’ as a framework, this research uses new empirical data from a survey and a set of interviews to investigate the failure of energy efficiency regulatory frameworks at achieving energy efficient norms of behaviour in industry. We look at Canada and the UK as our case studies and our emphasis is on industry actors as they represent a significant and yet understudied area of society. We find that though existing regulatory structures seem adequate to generate general shared understandings around obligations to engage in energy efficiency actions, more specific shared practice around actually engaging in these actions remains elusive, resulting in a failure to engender norms of behaviour. These failures, we suggest, link directly to an inadequate fit between the regulatory tools and Fuller’s criteria for the internal morality of law.


Elizabeth Kirk, University of Lincoln, Lincoln Law School
Laurel Besco, University of Toronto Mississauga, Department of Geography, Geomatics and Environement and Institute for Management and Innovation

Industry perceptions of government interventions: generating an energy efficiency norm

Professor Elizabeth Kirk, University of Lincoln, College of Social Science

The world has been grappling with energy efficiency for decades. Much attention has been focused on how government can encourage energy efficiency, but there has been essentially none on industry perspectives of which government interventions are necessary to encourage these actions to become the norm. We address this gap through a study of industry views as to which government interventions prompt corporate actors to adopt energy efficiency measures across three industries (building and construction, energy/utilities, and hospitality) in Canada and the United Kingdom. Our findings demonstrate that industry responses mirror recent literature on the need for a mixture of policy tools. Where our findings depart from this literature is that we find a strong endorsement of the use of information provided by government and antipathy towards the use of economic instruments to engender new norms of behaviour. This finding is particularly significant given that much of the literature focuses on the benefits of economic instruments in advancing sustainability goals. We also find the express norms found in command and control instruments are, in the views of industry actors, necessary to make a shift from energy efficiency actions being carried out only by leaders within the industry to these actions becoming standard.


University of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research

Laurel Besco, University of Toronto Mississauga, Department of Geography, Geomatics, and Environment and the Institute for Management and Innovation

Elizabeth Kirk, University of Lincoln, Lincoln Law School


Industry perceptions of government interventions: generating an energy efficiency norm

The world has been grappling with energy efficiency for decades.  Much attention has been focused on how government can encourage energy efficiency, but there has been essentially none on industry perspectives of which government interventions are necessary to encourage these actions to become the norm.  We address this gap through a study of industry views as to which government interventions prompt corporate actors to adopt energy efficiency measures across three industries (building and construction, energy/utilities, and hospitality) in Canada and the United Kingdom. Our findings demonstrate that industry responses mirror recent literature on the need for a mixture of policy tools.  Where our findings depart from this literature is that we find a strong endorsement of the use of information provision by government and antipathy towards the use of economic instruments to engender new norms of behaviour.  This finding is particularly significant given that much of the literature focuses on the benefits of economic instruments in advancing sustainability goals.  We also find the express norms found in command and control instruments are, in the views of industry actors, necessary to make a shift from energy efficiency actions being carried out only by leaders within industry to these actions becoming standard.


University of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research

Funded by the  Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Laurel Besco, University of Toronto Mississagua, Department of Geography

Elizabeth A. Kirk, University of Lincoln, Lincoln Law School


 

Ostrom, Floods and Mismatched Property Rights

Dr Nick Cowen, Univeristy of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research, School of Social and Political Sciences

How societies can cope with flood risk along coasts and riverbanks is a critical theoretical and empirical problem – particularly in the wake of anthropogenic climate change and the increased severity of floods. An example of this challenge is the growing costs of publicly-funded flood defense in Britain and popular outcries during the regular occasions that the British government fails to protect property and land during heavy rains. Traditional approaches to institutional analysis suggest that flood management is either a public good that only the government is competent to provide or a private good to which individual landowners are ultimately responsible for supplying. We argue that an important cause of failure in flood management is mismatched property rights. This is where the scale of natural events and resources fail to align with the scale of human activities, responsibility and ownership. Moreover, the spatial dimensions of floods mean that their management is often appropriately conceptualized as a common pool resource problem. As a result, commons institutions as conceptualized and observed by Elinor Ostrom are likely to be major contributors to effective flood management. What governance process should decide the size and scope of these institutions? We argue that bottom-up responses to problems of mismatched property rights are facilitated within larger societies that are characterized by market processes. Moreover, the wider presence of price signals delivers to local communities essential knowledge about the cost of maintaining private property and the relative scarcity of the communal goods. We discuss how our theoretical positions align with experience in Britain and what the implications of our theoretical approach are for facilitating the development of better institutions.


University of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research

Nick Cowen, University of Lincoln, School of Social and Political Sciences

Charles Delmotte, New York University