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Empower judges to rule boldly in favour of nature

Readers’ corner 2024-01-18, 1:16am


High Court symbol

We all presume judges to be guardians of fairness and justice, but in lawsuits that involve nature, the considerations of what is right and wrong can be complex. 

Now, a new global movement that looks at giving rights to nonhuman species is gaining traction, and as I have discovered through interacting with some of Asia's judges, the concept is one they are buying into. At a recent judicial training programme that I was part of, judges exchanged insights on climate litigation trends. Outside of classes, we had fascinating conversations that expanded into the realm of spirituality and deep ecology. A Thai judge told me how being Buddhist and the belief that all forms of life were interdependent shaped her relationship with nature. 

This week's top story explores if Asia's judges can be empowered to rule more boldly in favour of nature. In a separate interview, environment law charity ClientEarth – more widely known for engaging in high stakes litigation against corporates in the West – tells us why it is adopting a different and less adversarial strategy in Asia to advance its cause. 

Ng Wai Mun, Assistant editor, Eco-Business