Leading from the bench

The role of judges in advancing climate justice and lessons from South Asia

Authored by: Emeline Pluchon

Routledge Handbook of Climate Justice

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138689350
eBook ISBN: 9781315537689
Adobe ISBN:


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A fascinating trend is underway in South Asia, with potential repercussions for the rest of the region and globally with respect to climate justice. Over the last ten years, judges in India and Pakistan, inspired and mirrored by judicial leadership in other jurisdictions, such as The Netherlands and the USA, have taken decisions that have significantly advanced environmental rights and climate justice. These decisions were taken in the context of perceived inadequate policy and regulatory responses by Governments and actions by private enterprises with significant climate and social impacts. Thus, in the region, judges have become increasingly aware of their critical function in protecting the environment and those who live in it. This chapter highlights the significant and growing role of the judiciary in advancing climate justice and shows how judiciaries in South Asia have been at the forefront of this trend. In doing so, the chapter will first outline some of the key developments and trends in climate litigation in South Asia. It will then highlight some of the challenges faced by judiciaries in this area. It will conclude with reflections on how judges are coming together in the region to share experiences and advance climate justice and how judicial leadership in South Asia could be a model for other judges around the world.

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