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Legal implications of mobile shorelines in Great Britain

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This paper highlights the three legally defined property areas that lie in the coastal zone in Great Britain (land, foreshore and seabed), and considers the mechanisms used by the two legal systems that operate on the mainland (Scots and English law) to cope with natural processes of erosion and accretion. The two legal systems are shown to be slightly different in how they accommodate erosion and accretion. However, they both have difficulty in coherently addressing the issues of coastal mobility and land ownership, which raises important questions of social justice, as they are based on the perceptions of judges in historic cases.

Keywords: Coastal accretion; English law; Great Britain; Scots law; coastal erosion; social justice

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Environmental Systems Research Group, Geography, School of Social and Environmental Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN, Email: 2: School of Law, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN

Publication date: June 1, 2009


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