Sustainable Development and the Role of Judges: From International Agreements to National Laws

By Simon Payne, Jason Lowther and James Gray-Donald.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

National governments around the world have endorsed charters and agreements on sustainable development with a recognition that this concept must be integrated into their own policies, practices and laws. The concept of sustainable development is particularly difficult to transfer into current national legal systems because of the ambiguity of the concept and its wide range of possible interpretations. This article aims to give a brief description of the degree to which sustainable development has been integrated into international and then into national law, explain why this process has been difficult, provide examples of how it has been applied divergently in different national contexts, and provide a brief sketch of how some countries have been applying the concept of sustainable development in the decisions of their highest courts. The article also introduces an on-going qualitative research project to investigate the sustainability literacy of highest court judges in a range of English speaking countries through directly interviewing judges and asking them for their understandings, opinions and recommendations.

Keywords: Law, Judges, Judiciary, Sustainable Development, Sustainability, International law, Education

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 3, Issue 5, pp.193-204. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 599.538KB).

Prof. Simon Payne

Professor of Law, Head of School of Law and Social Science, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, Devon, UK

Simon Payne is Professor of Law at the University of Plymouth and a Fellow of the Centre for Sustainable Futures. He is also Head of School for the School of Law and Social Science at the University of Plymouth. His research interests are in environmental law and sustainable development. He is well known as a commentator and writer on UK and EU environmental and planning law and is a member of the University’s Marine Institute undertaking research and consultancy on comparative environmental law for international institutions. He writes regularly for the UK based Solicitors Journal and holds editorial positions with Water Law and the Student Law Review. Simon has co-authored and contributed to a number of books on environmental law.

Jason Lowther

Senior Lecturer in Law, Faculty of Social Science and Business, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, England, UK

Jason Lowther is a Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Plymouth and a Fellow of the Centre for Sustainable Futures. His research interests are in environmental law, sustainable development and drugs and the law. He has undertaken research and consultancy for NGO’s and government departments. He contributes regularly to the UK based Journal of Environmental Law and Management and holds an editorial position with the same journal. Jason is co-author and contributor to books on tort law, environmental law and the regulation of performance enhancing drugs in sport.

Dr James Gray-Donald

Senior Consultant, Energetics Ecology Limited, London, London, UK

James Gray-Donald is a Senior Consultant with Energetics Ecology Limited. He was the research team coordinator of the Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Plymouth from 2005-2007. In 2005 He received his doctorate in Adult Education and Environmental Studies from the University of Toronto. He is a researcher and practitioner who works across a range disciplines related to sustainability.


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