Friday, June 7, 2013

2010 Marine Preserve Decision Still Controversial for the UK

In 2010, the United Kingdom government decided to create the largest marine reserve in the world and set aside the Chagos Islands as a protected area. The Chagos Islands are located in the central Indian Ocean, near the tip of India. The area is comprised of an archipelago of 55 islands.

Diego Garcia Island, U.S. Air Force Base in the Indian Ocean
Photo Courtesy of Serendigity Photography

The controversial history of the Chagos Islands begins in the 1960's. The local populations were evicted so that the U.S. could establish an Air Force base on the largest island, Diego Garcia. The islanders have been fighting for their right to return to their native lands ever since.

The 2010 decision to create the Chagos marine park delivered aqblow to the island people. The islanders challenged the decision in court, claiming it was another tactic to prevent them from returning. The controversial preserve decision banned commercial fishing in some areas and denied the Islanders an integral part of their livelihoods.

Colin Roberts, British diplomat and creator of the park, denied that the park was created for the "improper purpose of keeping the Chagossians out, as the U.S. wanted" and said that it was for environmental and conservation purposes.

Lawyers for the islanders attempted to introduce a WikiLeaks document supporting the accusation. However, the High Court judges ruled that the documents were inadmissible under the Diplomatic Privileges Act of 1964.

The judges further ruled that the marine protected area was "compatible with EU law." The Chagos island people will continue to struggle for access to their homelands.

Angelica Oman
Graduate Program Assistant

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

New Trend Sweeping Law Schools, DU Ahead of the Curve

The National Law Journal and the Wall Street Journal have recently published articles highlighting a new trend in law degrees sweeping the nation: Master of Laws and Master of Science in Legal Studies. However, this isn’t a new trend for the Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy (ENRLP) program at DU College of Law in Denver, CO.

The articles identify new programs designed to offer students an abbreviated law school education, typically taking one third the time of a full Juris Doctorate degree (J.D.). The degrees aim to arm professionals with a more sophisticated understanding of their profession in society and help them to navigate the many areas where law becomes a part of their work.

The ENRL program has been offering these degrees to students for the past 20 years in the form of a Master of Laws in Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy degree- for those entering the program with a Juris Doctorate or foreign equivalent and a Masters of Resources Law Studies degree. The Master of Resources Law Studies degree is designed for students with an undergraduate or graduate degree who wishes to broaden their understanding of environmental and natural resources law and policy issues.

The Director of the ENRLP program, Don Smith stated, “We recognize a vital need for advanced graduate studies in this complex legal field and offer a comprehensive, multilevel program to help attorneys, natural resources professionals, and government regulators increase their knowledge of the issues, policies, and laws that affect resources and the environment worldwide.”

Students enrolled in the ENRLP program have the option of further specializing their studies in up to two of the following areas: oil and gas, environmental law, land use, mineral law, energy law, water law, sustainable development and renewable energy law, and finally, international resources transactions. These options allow students to fully develop their understanding in a particular area of environmental law.

For more information about the ENRLP program, visit our website, or email us directly at