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Environment Courts - UKELA

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Published on Jun 15, 2011

UKELA London Event 13 May 2010 - Environment Courts

Environmental governance reforms are in the air. International treaties on the environment are
criticised as toothless and after the Copenhagen debacle governments are considering a World
Environment Organization similar to the World Trade Organization. Do we need an International
Court to ensure that international obligations are correctly interpreted and met? At a national
level the UK's Climate Change Act has put in the hands of the courts enforcement of the
government's commitment on emission reductions, but there are no UK specialist environment
courts, and how comfortable will the courts be mandating policy on emissions? At a European
level, how effective is the ECJ as a European environmental court when many describe it as a
court specialising in trade and market liberalisation disputes?

Speakers at the May 2010 London meeting discussed the issue of the Environment Court at an international, European and national level.

Stephen Hockman QC asked whether we need an International Court to ensure that international obligations are correctly interpreted and met? He predicted that the 20 year anniversary of the Rio Summit would be a good time to discuss the proposal.

Prof Richard Macrory assessed the likelihood of having an Environmental Tribunal at the UK level after years of debate about the issue. He saw it as most likely necessary to deal with appeals from the new regulatory regime and statutory appeals under the environmental regulations.

Carol Hatton of WWF looked at the mixed results at a European level, which provides an accessible costs regime but makes it very hard for cases to be brought forward.

The meeting was kindly hosted by Herbert Smith.

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