ABSTRACT

This chapter consists of a study of the adaptive management paradigm. The perspective is that of a legal scholar, practical lawyer, or regulator seeking to understand better this scientific paradigm of natural resource governance, water governance included, which the EU realised in its Water Framework Directive (WFD). By way of dissecting the examination – moving on from socio-ecological to socio-eco-legal governance – the study at hand explains the inherent uncertainty, learning, social learning, the panarchy thesis, structures and trade-offs, multicriteria decision analysis, robustness framework, and other critical components and developments of the theorem. Also, critical voices are given the floor, for some of them are essential for people with legal background to grasp the essence of the matter at hand. The chapter concludes with analyses of the adaptive governance and adaptive law approaches of recent years and the more jurisprudential considerations: the role of legal fictions in understanding the dynamics between adaptive management and law, the commitments to pragmatism any practical solutions entail, and, most importantly, the rule of law and access to justice – aspects turning out to be pivotal in securing the adequate level of legal remedies in transnational environmental governance realised at national level in the legal system of one individual Member State.