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Recent developments in public interest litigation

Should animals have legal standing?

The New York Supreme Court is to hear arguments in November on whether an elephant can have legal personality. This may seem odd. But from a legal perspective it is not that strange. Indeed, it may be a practical way of using the law to protect the welfare of animals. To have a legal personality […]

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Indonesia’s jobs law endangers environment, say activists

Environmentalists in Indonesia are calling for the reversal of a controversial law aimed at job creation because it is seen favouring business interests at the expense of the environment and labour. Indonesia, the world’s biggest producer of palm oil and nickel ore for electric vehicle batteries, has forests bigger than any outside the Amazon and […]

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Election and Supreme Court Fight Will Decide Trump’s Environmental Legacy

President Trump has selected Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court. He has initiated the most aggressive environmental deregulation agenda in modern history, but as his first term drives to a close, many of his policies are being cut down by the courts — even by Republican-appointed jurists who the […]

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Environmental human rights defenders in Mexico: The issue of structural violence

In 2019, 39 environmental human rights defenders were victims of attacks in Mexico. Of these, 15 were killed. According to the most recent report by the Mexican Center for Environmental Law, between 2012 and 2019, there were 499 attacks on land and environment activists that took place across the vast majority of states. This indicates permanent and diffuse […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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 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, […]

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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 […]

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