The number of courts that resolve environmental disputes has nearly doubled in the last five years as the complexity of environmental law and public awareness have increased, according to a new study.
There are 354 environmental courts in 41 countries, with more than 170 created since 2005, according to the World Resources Institute (WRI). Only a handful existed in the 1970s.
“While such specialist courts and tribunals have been created from time to time, their accelerated growth is a 21st century phenomenon,” the report says.Typically, citizen groups and governments have pushed for such courts and tribunals to help develop consistent, sustainable development regulations.
In recent years, an increasing number of these courts have emerged in developing nations, where governments have faced a flood of cases involving development and natural resource management.
In China, 15 new environmental courts were added in 2008 and 2009. The WRI report identifies the practices that work well and the lessons that can be learned from less effective courts.
Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.