China held a week-long judicial training for environmental law for over 300 judges in July.
China is strengthening enforcement of its environmental laws through the largest-ever training of environmental judges. The training was held in Beijing during the first week of July 2018.
The Supreme People’s Court, ClientEarth, the World Commission of Environmental Law, and the Global Judicial Institute on the Environment organized the week-long seminar for over 300 judges. Senior judges and environmental experts from across the world shared information about environmental cases from their jurisdictions.
Speakers included Erik Solheim, the Executive Director of UN Environment; Justice Laurent Fabius, President of the Constitutional Court, former Prime Minister of France, Chair of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and French IUCN Committee Member; and James Thornton, CEO of ClientEarth.
Justice Antonio Benjamin, Chair of WCEL and member of the Global Institute for the Environment (GJIE) Interim Governing Committee, Justice Michael Wilson, member of WCEL and GJIE Interim Governing Committee, Justice Brian Preston, member of WCEL and GJIE Interim Governing Committee, and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, member of WCEL and GJIE Interim Governing Committee, made presentations and participated in the event.
The training also featured many speakers from China’s highest court, the Supreme People’s Court.
In recent years, China has established over 600 environmental courts at all levels of the judiciary. These courts handle all kinds of environmental disputes, including criminal cases such as wildlife poaching or illegal logging, civil cases such as personal or environmental damages from pollution, and administrative cases where the government is violating laws causing damage to the environment.
At the training, the China’s Supreme People’s Court announced that it will establish two international courts to settle disputes in the “Belt and Road Initiative.” It invited authoritative legal experts from outside China to participate in this process.
Dimitri de Boer
Head of ClientEarth’s China Programme