Washington International Law Journal


Darcey J. Goetz


China’s economic growth has come at a high price: environmental and natural resource destruction. Presently, China’s legal system is not prepared to protect China’s environmental resources. China’s State Council has expressed an interest in establishing a civil and administrative system to manage environmental matters. Some of the objectives expressed by the State Council could be achieved by creating a special tribunal to address environmental issues, similar to New Zealand’s Environment Court. A specialized court promotes environmental protection, and specialization creates experts in a specific field, allowing for consistency among decisions. An environmental court will fit into China’s current legal system because Chinese law expressly authorizes specialized courts. In fact, China already has specialized courts, including special maritime courts. The creation of a specialized court would not be a panacea for China’s environmental problems, but it is a fundamental first step.

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