Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Karen Kong on Using Public Interest Litigation to Protect the Natural Environment

"The Uphill Battle for Sustainable Development: Can the Use of Public Interest Litigation Protect the Natural Environment in Hong Kong?"
2015, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 7-30
Abstract: This article reviews the development of recent environmental public interest litigation in Hong Kong. Despite substantive time and efforts spent on the litigation, the judicial challenges had limited success in yielding the desired outcome that environmental concern groups had hoped for. Reasons behind are complex, which involve litigation strategies, the state of Hong Kong law on environmental protection and sustainable development, and the courts’ attitude towards public interest cases. The article studies the courts’ reasoning and decisions, with a view to evaluating the use of public interest litigation as a tool of environmental advocacy under the current constitutional and administrative regime in Hong Kong. It argues that, despite its constraints, public interest litigation is an important tool to channel the public’s views on the protection of the environment. The article recommends principles to be used in future environmental judicial review, including a purposive approach to interpretation of environmental legislation, with reference to human rights in evaluating environmental issues. Further, litigation is not the sole solution and it needs to be complemented with more up-to-date legislation and environmental standards.  Full text can be download from Lexis.com.

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