Should national courts be allowed to base their judgments on international environmental law? This was one of the questions discussed by young law scholars from around the world in Oslo recently.
Despite an increased number of multilateral environmental agreements, states are still reluctant to establish an International Environmental Court.
In cases of transnational environmental damages or in cases of non-compliance with international obligations, there aren’t any specialized environmental courts which would assess nation states’ responsibilities for environmental damage.
"Frontiers of International Environmental Law", the title of a one-day workshop hosted recently by UiO Faculty of Law together with the PluriCourts Centre for the Study of the Legitimate Roles of the Judiciary in the Global Order, got together a group of young scholars coming from different parts of the world and who has been investigating whether there could be alternative fora for adjudicating environmental cases.
Some law-makers have been arguing for the recognition of an environmental crime against humanity (ecocide) before the International Criminal Court, while others have been in favor for the attribution of a legal rights to natural resources in the wake of emerging jurisprudence developed by Bolivia, New Zealand and India courts.
A couple of proposals have particularly caught these young scholars’ attention: one on the possibility of the International Court of Justice issuing an Advisory Opinion on the responsibilities of states under international law as pertaining to climate change; another on climate actions before national courts.