Environmental Law Research at PluriCourts 2016-2017

Research topics

Given the absence of an international court or tribunal in the field of international environmental law, studying the legitimacy of international adjudication with regard to environmental protection means studying the legitimacy of adjudicative bodies that are not specialized in environmental law. It means looking at disputes that have an environmental component but are being dealt with by international courts with general jurisdiction, i.e. the ICJ, or international courts and tribunals with special – but not environmental – jurisdiction, e.g. Human Rights courts and treaty bodies, international trade panels and the dispute settlement system of the WTO and investment tribunals. Such spread of adjudicative bodies involves the careful study and analysis of a significant amount of different international juridical practice.

Accordingly, for the last years, the work of the environmental pillar has focused on the study of human rights courts when dealing with environmental cases (2014) and analysed the role of investment treaty arbitration for advancing and promoting stronger environmental protection (2015). The former symposium produced a special issue of the Journal in Human Rights and Environment (published in September 2015). The proceedings of the investment-environment symposium are planned to be published in a 2016 edition of the Journal of World Investment and Trade - Law, Economics and Politics. We are in contact with the editor-in-chief, Stephan Schill, who attended the symposium.


In 2016, the environmental pillar of Pluricourts will be responsible for housing the 13th Colloquium of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Academy of Environmental Law (20-25 June 2016) in Oslo, at the Faculty of Law. The colloquium will have the theme The Environment in Court and is expected to attract about 200-280 participants. From the colloquium, two edited publications are planned: Edward Elgar is to publish the proceedings of the conference (standing partner of the IUCN AEL) and Cambridge University Press is interested in publishing a volume with papers that have a theme which addresses international courts. It is expected that this colloquium will exhaust most of both human and financial resources for 2016.

In addition, participation and presentation both of a paper and of Pluricourts as the host of the 2016 IUCN colloquium is expected at the World Congress on Environmental Law in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 23-27 April 2016, hosted by the World Commission in Environmental Law. A personal invitation to Professor Christina Voigt was extended by the World Commission’s president Justice Antonio H. Benjamin in September 2015. The visit will be combined with a special event and talk at the Supreme Court in Brazil, Brasilia, prior to the Rio Conference.


Published July 12, 2016 1:24 PM - Last modified July 12, 2016 1:24 PM