Opinion: An International Court for the Environment


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In June 2008,' an Early Day Motion was moved in the House of Commons by the distinguished Labour MP and former Minister, Nigel Griffiths, as follows:

That this House welcomes the proposal from Stephen Hockman QC, Chris Osborne and LECG to establish an International Court for the Environment, as the supreme legal authority for settling issues regarding harm to the environment, and for speci¬fying the ecological conditions which must be met if the biosphere is to operate effectively without a major disruption to human communities and other life; notes that a symposium on this is being held in the British Library on 28th November; and calls on the Government and business to combine to support such a measure for the sake of a sustainable future.

The motion achieved a large number of signatures, and the proposals elicited the following comments from the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown MP, at Prime Minis¬ters Questions:

I am grateful for the interest that my Hon. Friend has taken in this matter and the effort he makes in his constituency to persuade young people, especially school¬children, to take an interest in the environment. His proposal for the World Environment Court is an interesting one. We have to get to the first stage first, and that is persuading all countries to accept binding targets. That will be our priority in the post-2012 negotiations, and we will ally to that our proposal that funding be made available to developing countries to persuade them that it is in their interests to sign up to those agreements. How we make those agreements binding is a matter for the discussions, and obviously his proposal is one that will be taken into account.'

More recently, in an interview in The Times, the London Director of the influential international consultancy LECG, Chris Osborne, lent his considerable weight to this proposal.

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