Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



International Environmental Law, Legal Innovation, Sustainable Transitions/Transformation, Complex Systems, Innovation Frameworks


The concluding chapter to Global Environmental Change and Innovation in International Law provides an assessment of the value of an innovation framework for further scholarship in the field of international environmental law. The authors note that thinking more systematically about how international law structures innovation and how innovation within law arises has potential to generate new insights into the role of law in the development of sustainable transitions and may provoke greater attention to the sources and processes of legal transformations themselves. Identifying the constraints to legal innovation, particularly in the context of increasingly complex system demands, was identified as an important emerging theme from the volume. The authors note that legal transformations, particularly abrupt shifts in normative orders, are in tension with systemic demands for stability and predictability in law, and the requirement for state consent in international law. This in turn suggests a demand for more profound legal innovations respecting not only the generation of new norms, but new forms of cooperation and accountability.


This chapter has been published in a revised form in Global Environmental Change and Innovation in International Law at This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale, or use in derivative works.

© Sara Seck & Neil Craik