Chapter 1: The nature of courts
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As environmental problems become more acute, nations turn to courts to provide access to justice regarding environmental conditions and decision-making. More than 1000 environmental courts exist today in 50 nations. Recognition of environmental rights and environmental protection regimes has in turn generated a demand for tribunals through which environmental norms are enforced. This phenomenon can be identified both in ancient courts, such as Verderers Courts in England, and in contemporary ones, such as in China’s new environmental courts. To enhance the capacity of these courts, such as by providing continuing judicial education about environmental laws and remedies, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has enabled the establishment of a new Global Judicial Institute on the Environment. Comparative environmental jurisprudence suggests many issues associated with this new generation of environmental courts. Ultimately, these courts can foster sustainability and resilience in human societies worldwide.

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Edited by Christina Voigt and Zen Makuch
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