New leadership programme in environment and the law

Participants on the new leadership programme in environment and the law

Smith School and environmental law charity ClientEarth collaborate on Oxford Programme on Enterprise, Environment and the Law for Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China.

The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment and ClientEarth have designed and delivered a leadership development programme for environmental judges selected by the Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China. The programme took place over 18-23 August and was held within Oxford.

The programme was designed to equip the judges from across China with learning and case studies on European and UK environmental adjudication practices, as well as an understanding of the science and theory which underpins environmental litigation. The delegates included senior judges from the Supreme People's Court, and presidents of environment and resources tribunal of High People's courts of various provinces.

Contributions on the programme came from world-leading academics in legal, environmental and Chinese studies – with speakers including Professor Cameron Hepburn, Dr Mimi Zou, Dr Ben Caldecott, and Dr Aisha Saad. Sessions on the programme aimed to address a range of issues relevant to China and judiciaries, including: biodiversity, pollution and health, greening the belt and road, and water resources, markets and rights.

Dimitri de Boer, Head of ClientEarth China's office commented, "It is our honour to work with the Supreme People's Court and the University of Oxford on building the capacity of senior environmental judges. These judges are very important because they decide on some of China's most complex environmental court cases. The judges of the Supreme People's Court Environmental and Resources Tribunal are also involved in the development of judicial interpretations, which are binding instructions to lower courts of China on how to apply the law."

Professor Cameron Hepburn, Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford, said, "Senior environmental judges play a vital role in the protection of the environment and natural resources by ensuring that environmental laws are interpreted correctly. We were delighted to work with ClientEarth and the Supreme People's Court to welcome this delegation of senior Chinese judges to Oxford, for important and wide-ranging discussions at a critical time for the future of our planet."

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