Chapter

The Social Obligations of Ownership and the Regulation of Energy Utilities in the United Kingdom and the European Union

Aileen McHarg

in Property and the Law in Energy and Natural Resources

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199579853
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722745 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199579853.003.0018
 							The Social Obligations of Ownership and the Regulation of Energy Utilities in the United Kingdom and the European Union

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This chapter considers the influence of ideas about the social obligations of ownership in relation to the regulation of energy utilities in two overlapping jurisdictions: the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU). This example allows examination of both common law and civilian approaches to the social obligations of ownership, as well as the interaction between them. It also resonates with some of the concerns that have re-awakened interest in this issue amongst contemporary property law theorists. One is environmentalism, which has led some scholars to advocate models of property rights which promote sustainability. Another is the desire to counteract the potentially adverse social consequences of privatization and liberalization policies by using the law to promote public service values. Because they provide essential services and may cause enormous environmental damage (as well as for more technical reasons), energy utilities are subject to extensive statutory regulation at both UK and EU levels, which has focused more closely on social and environmental objectives in recent years. The chapter explores how more general notions of the social obligations of ownership may support, shape and/or supplement these explicit regulatory responses.

Keywords: United Kingdom; European Union; social obligations; ownership; energy regulation; energy policy; common law; property rights

Chapter.  10766 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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