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Cover Environmental Law

10. Access to environmental justice and the role of the courts  

Stuart Bell, Donald McGillivray, Ole W. Pedersen, Emma Lees, and Elen Stokes

This chapter considers the ability of individuals to seek redress to resolve environmental disputes and the role played by the courts. First, the chapter considers the reasons why some disputes end up in the courts before focusing on the main institution of judicial redress in the form of judicial review. Focus includes discussion of likelihood of success before the courts and the usefulness of judicial review in environmental cases. Specifically, the chapter focuses on the problem encountered by litigants in respect to the exorbitant costs associated with judicial review and the attempt by the Government to address this. The chapter also briefly considers the provisions for access to justice in private law as well as before the Court of Justice for the EU before considering alternative mechanisms for compliance, including the debates surrounding the need for a special environmental court.