The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series
Chapter 11: The ‘Greening’ of Justice: Will it Help the Poor?
George W. (Rock) Pring and Catherine G. (Kitty) Pring Improving, facilitating and expanding individual and collective access to law and justice supports economic and social development. Legal reforms give the poor the opportunity to assert their individual and property rights; improved access to justice empowers the poor to enforce those rights. Increasing accessibility to courts lessens and overcomes the economic, psychological, informational and physical barriers faced by women, indigenous populations, and other individuals … New legislation, subsidized legal services, alternative dispute resolution, citizen education programs, court fee waivers and information technology are other means to improve access. (The World Bank, 2011)1 ‘Greening’ – the integration of environmental, social and cultural values into financial enterprises, industry, communities, markets and other institutions – is a central goal of sustainable development (Werksmann, 1996; World Bank, 2000; Nanda and Pring, 2003, pp. 22–27). Now, in numerous countries around the world, another important institution is greening – the judiciary. Specialized environmental courts and tribunals (ECTs) are springing up in dozens of countries. These are judicial and administrative bodies specifically authorized to adjudicate and decide disputes primarily concerning the environment, natural resources, land use and/or related issues. The University of Denver Environmental Court and Tribunals (ECT) Study, as of the start of 2012, has identified over 465 ECTs in 46 different nations and over 50 per cent of these have been created in just the last five years. This first-ever global multidisciplinary comparative study of ECTs examines how they can improve access to justice for those involved in...
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