Publication Title

University of Colorado Law Review

Document Type



In the specialty of natural resources law, there is no reason to expect our tasks of description and prescription to be any easier. We deal, after all, with the allocation of scarce resources where there are winners and losers. This leads us quickly into substantive justice theories based on entitlements, needs, and deserts and process justice theories extending to each loser his due.

Justice theory is implemented through judicial review, and what courts do depends importantly upon behavioral assumptions about people, agencies of government, and empirical proof. The sources of these assumptions and evidence are often the sciences, and I would like to speculate a bit about how these sciences might influence the role of the courts.

I will attempt to suggest lines of inquiry where descriptive and normative legal theories of natural resource allocation might draw upon insights from disciplines other than economics which has claimed such a prominent, and some would say disproportionate, role in contemporary legal scholarship.

[This paper was presented initially to the Institute for Natural Resource Law Teachers, May 28-30, 1981, University of Colorado School of Law, Boulder, Colorado.]



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