Chapter 17: Swedish environmental courts – specialized civil and administrative courts
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In a country with a well-developed structure of independent and qualified authorities, the main responsibility to implement the national environmental policy and to monitor the state of the environment towards sustainable development rests with government institutions. This doesn’t mean that the role of the courts should be underestimated. It is still up to the judge to interpret the law, to develop arguments and to take inspiration and guidance in and weigh overriding principles to protect human rights and/or the environment. It is a cost-free system for the parties that helps them to even out their differences in resources and powers. This chapter offers a concise overview of how specialized Swedish civil and administrative courts evolved and how they are organized. The chapter also explains the available choices between systems and the different procedures applied depending on the kind of case at hand. The reader is offered experiential lessons from a member of the judiciary in a land and environment court. Finally, the author reflects upon how that work has been affected during the last years inter alia due to a shift in how to apply different sources of law.

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