Published 2 February 2018
The following OGEL 1 (2018) article is now avalaible:
by A. Akinteye
This paper asks whether it is reasonable for developing countries with nascent or weak environmental laws or with strong environmental laws but weak enforcement to establish ECTs. The paper also considers whether there is any utility to be derived from creating ECTs in countries where access to justice in environmental matters is severely limited. Focusing on Nigeria, the paper argues that adjudicating the impact of oil spills in Nigeria requires the need for the creation of an ECT model in Nigeria. Given that there is no 'one size fits all' for an ECT, the ECT model that is proposed in this paper is tailored to respond to the peculiar environmental challenges relating to petroleum that prevail in Nigeria. Accordingly, this paper argues the need for designated Black Bench Divisions (a form of ECT) within the Federal High Court ("FHC") and State High Courts ("SHCs") in the oil producing states in Nigeria to address oil pollution. It also discusses the shape and makeup of the proposed Black Benches.
Interestingly, there is little or no research on the rationale for creating ECTs in countries where environmental laws and regulations are ineffective. The closest research to this is the recent work by Preston, the Chief Judge of the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales. In that study, the learned Judge identifies 12 characteristics of successful ECTs. However, the article's main focus is on the characteristics that are required for an ECT to operate successfully, and not on whether effective environmental laws and regulations are conditions sine qua non for the establishment of ECTs. Consequently, this paper aims to fill this gap.
This paper is published with the assistance of the University of Aberdeen Centre for Energy Law. (February 2018)
You can download the article here.