Environmental Courts & Tribunals: A Guide for Policy Makers

Improving the environmental rule of law, access to justice and environmental dispute resolution is essential for achieving the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG Goal 16 – “to provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” Specialized Environmental Courts and Tribunals (ECTs) are now widely viewed as a successful way to accomplish this important goal.

The objective of this UN Environment guide is to provide the most current, comprehensive, comparative analysis of ECTs available – a synthesis of the experiences, opinions and recommendations of leaders at the forefront of the ECT field. It is designed to be a helpful “roadmap” for policy makers, decision makers, and other stakeholders who are exploring how to improve adjudication of environmental and land use disputes, to make them – in the memorable words of Australian court law – “just, quick and cheap.” It presents an easy reference for those considering creating a new ECT or improving an existing one – to make it fair, fast, and affordable.

This UN Environment guide is a 2016 update of the University of Denver ECT Study that produced the book Greening Justice – Creating and Improving Specialized Environmental Courts and Tribunals, published by the World Resources Institute (WRI) in 2009. This update clearly identifies the necessary goals, steps and standards for an effective ECT.

Date Published

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Resource Type





United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)