Welcome to the Wild Law special interest group page. We invite you to join our group, attend our events and get actively involved! If you are interested please get in touch.
What is Wild Law?
Wild Law is a phrase coined by the lawyer and author Cormac Cullinan to describe a holistic approach to law and governance. This approach is based on principles of ecology, that all of life is an interconnected web of which human beings are only a part. It seeks to align law with ecology and the science of living systems. The current system of law and governance places human beings at the centre, and views us as separate from Nature. This view promotes the exploitation of Nature by seeing it as a resource base largely for the benefit of humans. This has led to the multiple environmental crises we now face.
Events - What's coming up and what does the group do?
The 2019 Wild Law conference on a theme of 'Wild Law and Activism' will be held at the University of Sussex in Falmer, Brighton on Saturday 9 November. Read more about the event on our events page. Bookings will open soon.
The 2018 Wild Law conference was a joint event held with Bristol University on 21 September 2018. We were delighted to welcome expert speakers for a day of stimulating debate. Please see the link below to the speakers' slides from the event.
Our events aim to promote the understanding of Wild Law and related concepts and attitudes, through fostering discussion and initiatives around how we can improve our relationship with Nature through Law. Our Wild Law Weekends hope that by being immersed in a more natural environment, participants can get a better understanding of the issues and develop creative ways of connecting Nature with Law. All members are encouraged to propose and help organise activities. Please contact the convenors to join the group, which is open to all UKELA members.
Previous Wild Law weekends
The 2019 Wild Law weekend took place in late May at Boggle Hole Youth Hostel, near Whitby in North Yorkshire. A mixed group of 22 delegates enjoyed an exhilarating weekend of walks, talks and companionship in the beautiful coastal countryside.
Our 2018 Wild Law weekend took place in the Lake District from 25 to 28 May based at the Coniston Coppermines youth hostel at the foot of Old Man of Coniston, now a World Heritage site. Read John Hunt's notes about the weekend below.
Please take a look at Matthew Terry's film of the 2017 Ben Nevis weekend (with thanks also to Simon Boyle) https://youtu.be/cgQeTzdF5R4
Since 2005, we have held weekends and events in many wonderful locations, including the Lake District, Northumberland, the Isle of Arran, the shores of Loch Lomond, the hills of Derbyshire, the South Downs, and many more. Read about them below.
Giving legal personality to Ben Nevis
Colin Robertson suggested the idea of giving Ben Nevis legal personality as UKELA Wild Law members joined members of the John Muir Trust for an evening at the Nevis Centre on Saturday 27 May 2017. It was followed by articles he wrote for the JMT Magazine and UKELA e-law publication (July / August, Issue 101, page 30).
The JMT article has attracted the attention of the Scotsman with a publication in Scotland on Sunday on 5 November 2017. The next day BBC Scotland presented the issue in their Kaye Adams Programme (scroll to 2:38:00 , it ends at 2:45:35).
Does Wild Law already exist in Law?
In 2009, UKELA published the report 'Wild Law: is there any evidence of Earth Jurisprudence in Existing Law and Practice?' See below for link to report.
It looked selectively at environmental laws around the world and concluded that while some contained elements of Wild Law, none could be completely described as “wild.” However, environmental law is evolving, Wild Law has moved on. Laws that recognise Nature’s inherent rights to exist, thrive, and renew her natural cycles exist in the following places:
For further reading and background about Wild Law and Earth Jurisprudence, follow the links below.