The Late Jurassic – earliest Cretaceous time interval was characterized by a widespread distribution of dysoxiс–anoxiс environments in temperate- and high-latitude epicontinental seas, which could be defined as a shelf dysoxic–anoxic event (SDAE). In contrast to black shales related to oceanic anoxic events, deposits generated by the SDAE were especially common in shelf sites in the Northern Hemisphere. The onset and termination of the SDAE was strongly diachronous across different regions. The SDAE was not associated with significant disturbances of the carbon cycle. Deposition of organic-carbon-rich sediment and the existence of dysoxic–anoxic conditions during the SDAE lasted up to c. 20 Ma, but this event did not cause any remarkable biotic extinction. Temperate- and high-latitude black shale occurrences across the Jurassic–Cretaceous boundary have been reviewed. Two patterns of black shale deposition during the SDAE are recognized: (1) Subboreal type, with numerous thin black shale beds, bounded by sediments with very low total organic carbon (TOC) values; and (2) Boreal type, distinguished by predominantly thick black shale successions showing high TOC values and prolonged anoxic–dysoxic conditions. These types appear to be unrelated to differences in accommodation space, and can be clearly recognized irrespective of the thickness of shale-bearing units. Black shales in high-latitude areas in the Southern Hemisphere strongly resemble Boreal types of black shale by their mode of occurrence. The causes of this SDAE are linked to long-term warming and changes in oceanic circulation. Additionally, the long-term disturbance of planktonic communities may have triggered overall increased productivity in anoxia-prone environments.