Courting Justice in the Anthropocene

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review


The Anthropocene epochal has placed the Earth system processes in crisis resulting in the planet becoming increasingly dangerous, unpredictable, unstable and incompatible with human existence. There is compelling evidence to indicate that the human-induced ecological disaster is altering the planet at an alarming rate. Modification of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles, rates of sea-level rise, climate change, species invasions and accelerated rates of extinction have tipped the planet from Holocene to Anthropocene. SIDS are particularly vulnerable to these happenings and changes. In this context, the role of a specialised, responsive and transformative judiciary is critical. There is an imperative need to recognise, develop and interpret environmental laws and norms in a manner that moves, albeit slowly, from an anthropocentric to an eco-centric approach. Judicial intervention is particularly important in jurisdictions where the ineffectiveness of both political leadership and administrative authorities have resulted in the depletion and mismanagement of natural resources that in turn have exacerbated social and economic inequalities. The tripartite checks and balances, so beloved to western common law constitutionalism continue to experience limited success particularly in ex-colonial states and via post-colonial experiences. India’s green judiciary, notably the National Green Tribunal (NGT), is an example of the transitional move through substantive and procedural creativity in the current socio-ecological crisis. The juristic and scientific interventions through interpretation of constitutional environmental rights alongside participatory and access rights provide responses and offer some redress resulting in an incremental move towards an ecological nature based policy orientated approach. The Indian judiciary is considered as a best practice example having responded to environmental challenges in innovative ways.


ConferenceLaw and Environment in the Small States International Conference and Workshop
Period5/09/17 → …
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