Monday, Dec 01, 2008
A former chairman of the Bar Council is calling for an international court for the environment to punish states that fail to protect wildlife and prevent climate change.
Stephen Hockman QC is proposing a body similar to the International Court of Justice in The Hague to be the supreme legal authority on issues regarding the environment.
The first role of the new body would be to enforce international agreements on cutting greenhouse gas emissions set to be agreed next year.
But the court would also fine countries or companies that fail to protect endangered species or degrade the natural environment and enforce the “right to a healthy environment”.
The innovative idea is being presented to an audience of politicians, scientists and public figures for the first time at a symposium at the British Library.
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Mr Hockman, a deputy High Court judge, said that the threat of climate change means it is more important than ever for the law to protect the environment.
The UN Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland this month is set to begin negotiations that will lead to a new agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol in Copenhagen next year. Developed countries are expected to commit to cutting emissions drastically, while developing countries agree to halt deforestation.
Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, has agreed the concept of an international court will be taken into account when considering how to make these international agreements on climate change binding. The court is also backed by a number of MPs, climate change experts and public figures including the actress Judi Dench.
This article was posted: Monday, December 1, 2008 at 11:58 am