August 5, 2011

Thailand Courts to Launch New Environmental Divisions

Filed under: Asia, Judges and Prosecutors — Tags: , — inece @ 9:19 am

On 3 August 2011, Thailand announced the launch of new “environmental divisions” of its administrative courts to specifically handle cases related to environmental issues.

From the Bangkok Post:

The new divisions are intended to speed up the legal proceedings involving environment-related cases to better ensure justice and solve problems more quickly, said Supreme Administrative Court president Hassawut Withitwiriyakul.The divisions were inaugurated at the Supreme Administrative Court, the Central Administrative Court and nine regional administrative courts across the country.

From The Nation:

On yesterday’s inauguration of a new court division hearing environment-related cases, local administrative courts across the country have more than 1,300 “green” cases in hand, with most of the incidents occurring in Khon Kaen province.


July 18, 2011

UNEP Convenes Meeting of Judges, Prosecutors and Enforcement Experts to Consider Integrated Enforcement to Combat Illegal Trade in Ozone Depleting Substances

Filed under: Judges and Prosecutors — Tags: , — inece @ 7:25 am

From UNEP OzoNews

For the first time UNEP has held a ‘brainstorming symposium’ involving High Court Judges, Prosecutors and a range of other experts to discuss the means to better address the issue of smuggling of ozone depleting substances (ODS). The symposium held on the  9-10 June 2011 in Paris was hosted by the OzonAction Branch of the United Nations Environment Programme Division of Technology, Industry and Economics and held in cooperation with UNEP Division of Environmental Law and Conventions (DELC).

The brainstorming provided the opportunity to share experiences and ‘on the ground’ realities and needs of developing countries in relation to illegal trade. It allowed a better common understanding of the various relevant ongoing and existing initiatives, activities and training materials. The experiences and insights of the participants  provided crucial guidance in considering the means of advancing the role of the entire enforcement chain including judges, prosecutors, attorneys, police and customs to enforce environmental agreements. The meeting decided on a list of practical recommendations to be taken up by UNEP and its partners in starting to plan future activities and potential synergies in addressing illegal trade in ODS and other commodities by the enforcement community.

For the full article, see UNEP DTIE OzoNews

June 11, 2011

Symposium Concludes with a Call for the Formation of a European Green Prosecutors Network

Filed under: 9th Conference, INECE Secretariat, Judges and Prosecutors — inece @ 2:26 am

INECE participated in a seminar on “Investigation, prosecution and judgment of environmental offences,” convened by Belgium’s Judicial Training Institute, from Tuesday 24 May 2011 to Friday 27 May 2011.

The seminar was attended by more than 100 judges and prosecutors and provided information on tools at the international and EU levels to combat environmental offences and offered a forum to exchange experience and good practices. INECE’s paper for the conference and the presentation emphasised the importance of environmental enforcement networks.

Participants concluded with the need of a European Green Prosecutors Network.

INECE’s presentation and paper are available on the INECE web site.

November 10, 2010

Green Court Proposed in Ecuador

Filed under: Judges and Prosecutors, marine, South America — Tags: — inece @ 2:41 pm

From Sea Shepard:
Satellite Image of the Galápagos Islands

In Quito, on October 26, 2010, a hearing was held at the Judiciary Council of Ecuador, to justify the need to create the first specialized judiciary on rights to nature in Ecuador and the world.

The hearing was part of a process led by institutions and conservation organizations based in the Galapagos, which calls for transformation of environmental justice in this national protected area and world natural heritage, by means of judicial specialization.

Galapagos requires a specialized judiciary to ensure access to justice according to the Ecuadorian constitutional provisions on the protection of natural heritage and the rights of nature.

In 2008, Ecuador became the first country to recognize nature as a subject of rights. The Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador recognizes the rights of nature to be respected and restored. In 2009, the Organic Code of the Judicial Function was created, which specifically provides for the creation of special judiciaries to address claims on violation of the rights of nature. The Law authorizes its establishment by the Consejo de la Judicatura, the country’s Judicial Council.

For more information, see A Major Step Towards the Creation of the First Judiciary on the Rights of Nature in the World.

October 20, 2010

AFP: India sets up ‘green court’ to make polluters pay

Filed under: Asia, Judges and Prosecutors — Tags: — inece @ 9:03 am

India's Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh

India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests held a press conference to announce the launch of India’s National Green Tribunal (“NGT”), established to make polluters pay damages as it steps up its policing of the country’s environmental laws. AFP reports that

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said India was only the third country in the world after Australia and New Zealand to set up such a tribunal.  “This is the first body of its kind (in India) to apply the polluter pays principle and the principle of sustainable development,” Ramesh told reporters in New Delhi.  Full AFP article.

Time magazine blog questions whether the new court will “get the job done,” looking at the history of similar bodies created in India, including

the National Environment Tribunal in 1995, established to handle cases arising from accidents during the handling of hazardous materials, and the National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) in 1997. “We have not seen these two active, and I have not seen any diagnostic study of why they failed in the first place,” says Sanjay Upadhyay, the founder of India’s first environmental law firm. The effect of the bodies’ failures, says Upadhyay, has been that grievances in environmental cases that should have been filed at the appellate level have often leapfrogged to the higher court systems, including the Supreme Court. That court has been praised for its proactive approach in environmental cases; the court’s interpretation of the Indian constitution’s guarantee of the “Right to Life” includes the right to a healthy, pollution-free environment.  However, Upadhyay says, the high courts’ rulings on sweeping environmental issues like sustainable development and the precautionary principle are often too broad to be properly managed at the ground level.

August 3, 2010

Asian Chief Justices, Judges Propose Network to Promote Environment Justice

Filed under: Asia, Judges and Prosecutors — inece @ 2:39 pm

(ADB Press Release, 30 July 2010) MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Asian judges proposed creation of an Asian Judges Network on the Environment to improve the quality of court rulings on environment and natural resource cases in the region at a seminar held at the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Around 120 senior judges, environment ministry officials and civil society participants attended the “Asian Judges Symposium on Environmental Decision-Making, the Rule of Law, and Environmental Justice” on 28-29 July to discuss ways to ensure effective environmental adjudication and dispute resolution, access to justice, and promote the rule of law.

Participants shared their experiences in evolving environmental jurisprudence, as well as handling environment cases, including the challenges and needs that arise in doing their work. They discussed how best to achieve effective environmental enforcement, including working through judges networks convened by the Chief Justices in the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Association for South East Asian Nation (ASEAN) countries.


June 23, 2010

Asian Judges: Green Courts and Tribunals, and Environmental Justice

Filed under: Judges and Prosecutors — inece @ 4:58 pm

The Asian Development Bank recently released a Law and Policy Reform Brief on environmental courts and tribunals in Asia [pdf]. The report describes ADB’s capacity building work on the topic and reviews recent developments in the Philippines, India, China, Indonesia, and Thailand, and summarizes future events, including a regional symposium in July 2010.

May 7, 2010

New Publication Draws Attention to the Importance of Environmental Tribunals

Filed under: Judges and Prosecutors — inece @ 12:02 pm

Greening Justice:  Creating and Improving Environmental Courts and Tribunals is a new publication from WRI that profiles 33 environmental tribunals in 21 countries. The report is designed as a guide for government, judicial, and civil society leaders and members of the public who are interested in creating or reforming a specialized environmental court or tribunal to improve access to environmental justice.

The report finds that:

The number of ECTs has grown from only a handful in the 1970s to over 350 in 41 different countries today. Over half of these new courts and tribunals have been created just since 2004. This dramatic growth of ECTs worldwide is a function of other growth – growth in the complexity of environmental laws; in public awareness of environmental problems; and in the pressure on governments to provide access to information, access to public participation, and access to justice in protecting the environment for today’s and future generations.

By defining, 12 “building blocks” or design decisions that characterize all ECTs, the report sets forth a  “toolkit” for creating and improving environmental courts and tribunals (ECT) and for incorporating good design elements and best practices – to assist government and civil society leaders who are considering establishing or reforming an ECT.

The full publication is available for download from WRI at (scroll to the bottom of the page).

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