Giving Force to Conservation Laws: Environmental Adjudication

Effective judicial environmental enforcement is needed worldwide to safeguard biodiversity, curb greenhouse gas emissions, abate pollution, secure rights to clean water, and foster sustainable development for Earth´s growing population. National environmental laws often fall short in implementation, compliance, and enforcement. Access to justice, critically important to the rule of law and sustainable development, is lacking in many nations, and justice, particularly with regards to environmental issues, is not yet accessible. Education for judges typically does not include environmental law, and judges rarely have any exposure to environmental concepts before their judicial training. Recently, however, more than 350 environmental courts and tribunals have been established in more than 50 nations to ensure that environmental laws are observed and enforced.

This workshop will explore leading innovations in environmental adjudication, such as the Writ of Nature (Kalikasan) in The Philippines, to ensure that citizens and governments alike can bring environmental law violators to justice. It will also introduce a proposal from the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), the Commission on Environmental Law of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and Pace University School of Law´s Center for Environmental Legal Studies to establish the International Judicial Institute for Environmental Adjudication to fill the gap in judicial education on environmental law (see the IUCN co-sponsored April 2011 symposium at http://www.pace.edu/school-of-law/international-judicial-institute-envir...), responding to the urgent needs identified above.

The workshop will seek input and partnerships to further institute goals, including among others: a central clearinghouse to leverage the expertise and support activities of existing institutions, including judicial training institutions; models of curricula, materials, presentations, and information about judicial innovations for environmental judicial training; and a foundation in best environmental adjudication practices that can be adapted to reflect the cultural values and government structures in each country.

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