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Public trust doctrine examined

By March 1, 2011

A key principle of environmental law will be the subject of “The Public Trust Doctrine: 30 Years Later,” a daylong series of presentations by environmental law scholars and legal practitioners at the UC Davis School of Law on Friday.

Discussions will cover a wide range of public trust doctrine-related topics, including a Stockton water district’s long-running legal battle with the federal government and recently filed lawsuits seeking to protect fisheries in the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta and Scott River, according to a news release.

The symposium, presented by the UCD Law Review, will begin at 9 a.m. at King Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

The public trust doctrine holds that certain natural resources such as water, the banks of rivers and ocean shorelines are not subject to private ownership and must be managed and preserved for public use.

In California, the doctrine was used as the basis for preserving Mono Lake in a precedent-setting 1983 California Supreme Court decision  and has figured in numerous subsequent cases involving water rights, public access to waterways and resource conservation. Critics argue the doctrine allows the government to violate the rights as property owners and water right holders.

Among those set to take part: Joseph Sax, the retired UC Berkeley law professor often credited with spearheading the establishment of the public trust doctrine in American law; Justice Ronald Robie of the Third District Court of Appeals; and Richard Frank, director of UCD’s California Environmental Law and Policy Center.

For more information, see http://lawreview.law.ucdavis.edu/symposia/2011.

Cory Golden

Cory Golden

The Enterprise's higher-education and congressional reporter. http://about.me/cory_golden
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