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Recent developments in public interest litigation

Bob Brown launches legal challenge to native forest logging in Tasmania

State-sanctioned felling is ‘based on a monumental lie’, former Greens leader says. The former Greens leader Bob Brown has launched a legal challenge to native forest logging in Tasmania, claiming it is inconsistent with federal environment law. The case by the Bob Brown Foundation, lodged in the federal court on Thursday, challenges what has been seen as […]


Los Cedros legal case could set a world precedent.

In a precedent-setting move, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador has announced it will take on the case of the threatened Los Cedros Protected Forest by using the Rights of Nature enshrined in the constitution.  The Constitutional Court chose to hear this case recently and apply, for the first time, Ecuador’s constitutionally mandated Rights of Nature […]


In a fight over a Colombian coal mine, Covid-19 raises the stakes. 

A group of activists from Wayuu, an Indigenous people of northern Colombia and Venezuela, have called upon the United Nations to intervene in their struggle against the owners of one of the biggest coal mines in the world. The mine, called Cerrejón, is located on the Guajira Peninsula near the Venezuelan border, right in the […]


Tackling South Sudan’s Oil Spills in Court

The price crash has put producers around the world under pressure – but few are facing a court challenge in a bid to stop the oil flowing.  South Sudan is the outlier. A legal challenge mounted in late April by Hope for Humanity Africa in the East African Court of Justice, in Tanzania, aims to […]


 Inter-American court condemns Argentina over indigenous rights

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has condemned the Argentine state for violating the right of indigenous communities to their cultural identity, a healthy environment and adequate food and water, that tribunal reported on Thursday. The court, based in the Costa Rican capital of San José, ordered specific action for the restitution of those rights, […]


East African Court Bars South Sudan, Two Firms From Exporting Oil

The government of South Sudan and two mining companies have been barred from operating and exporting oil due to spills that have polluted the environment. South Sudan’s Minister for Justice, the Greater Pioneer Operating Company (GPOC) and Dar Petroleum Operating Company Ltd have been served with a temporary injunction order by the East African Court […]


The Healers of Chhattisgarh 

Indigenous healers in Central India are struggling in the face of legal and environmental challenges. When the Forest Rights Act was passed in India in 2006, it was identified as an ‘act to recognise and vest the forest rights and occupation in forest land in forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers, who have been […]


Indonesia pushes Environmental Deregulation after deadly flood and deforestation.

The administration of President Joko Widodo in Indonesia is currently pushing a slate of environmental deregulation policies through proposing over 1,200 amendments to 80 existing laws in parliament. While the government claims that these policies will boost the country’s economic growth, experts are warning that they will threaten to dismantle the already small number of existing […]


Mega-mining threatens Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul

Summary:  Jair Bolsonaro’s victory in the 2018 Brazilian presidential election represented a new ultraconservative right-wing rise to power that radically dismantled environmental policies. Brazil’s Minister of Environment has been previously convicted for illegally favouring mining companies. In the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul alone, there are more than 150 mining projects that may leverage the […]


Supreme Court hands environmentalists a win in water pollution case.

The Supreme Court on Thursday sided with environmentalists by giving a broad reading to the types of water-borne pollution covered by the Clean Water Act. In a 6-3 decision, the justices held that a permit is required for either a direct discharge of pollutants into federally regulated rivers and oceans or its “functional equivalent.” “Suppose, for […]


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