A Framework for Exploring the Idea of an Environmental Court for Ireland

Paper: A Framework for Exploring the Idea of an Environmental Court for Ireland

This paper is based on a presentation at a conference on Environmental Courts, Enforcement, Judicial Review and Appeals: Exploring the Options for Ireland held at the School of Law, University College Cork on 19 June 2015.  The conference examined a number of the challenges involved in designing appropriate institutional mechanisms to provide effective oversight and to improve the quality of environmental decision-making.  This paper is informed by the rich and wide-ranging discussion that took place at that conference.  It sets out the potential advantages and disadvantages of a specialist environmental court in the context of contemporary challenges in delivering access to environmental justice in Ireland.  Rather than being in any away prescriptive, the overall aim of this contribution is to spark an informed debate on this issue and on how environmental disputes are dealt with more generally.  The paper draws on research undertaken for a project entitled Strengthening Environmental Decision-making: Law, Technical Evidence & Institutional Design funded by an Irish Research Council New Foundations Grant 2014/15.

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