Panel Proposal- Interest Group on International Environmental Law



Event Date: 

09/10/15 to 09/12/15

Location name: 

Oslo, Norway


ESIL Annual Conference

The growing complexity and specialisation of international law has given rise to calls for the constitution of courts, tribunals, and chambers operating in specific issue areas. International environmental law is a prominent example of this phenomenon; indeed, that call seemed to have been heeded with the creation of the ICJ’s Environmental Chamber, which seems to be a failed experiment. While there has been a small number of environmental disputes submitted to international courts and tribunals in the last couple of decades, this may not be evidence of a trend, particularly when one notes that environmental cases considered on their merits remain rare.

This panel will address the relevance, actual and potential, of adjudicatory bodies for international environmental norms. Papers may address the following issues:

  • What can realistically be expected of courts and tribunals hearing environmental disputes?
  • What contributions could adjudicatory bodies, whether specialised or not, make to this body of law?
  • Does the highly specialised nature of international environmental law require highly specialised adjudicatory bodies? Is environmental law still too broad – must adjudicatory bodies be even more highly specialised than this?
  • What is the role of general courts and tribunals such as the ICJ?
  • What factors contribute to state reluctance to submit environmental disputes to adjudication?
  • Where are disputes in this area being addressed? Are other adjudicatory bodies, or other approaches to dispute resolution altogether, adequate, or perhaps even better adapted?
  • What role does fragmentation of international law play in this context? Is it counterbalanced by dialogue among international courts and circulation of principles?
  • Do “pure” environmental disputes actually exist or are they always intertwined with other aspects?
  • Are judges well equipped to deal with environmental disputes? Could this affect the attitude of States towards international adjudication?
  • What role for amicus curiae submissions in relation to environmental disputes?
  • Should the ICJ’s environment chamber be reinvigorated, and if so, how? Are there certain incentives which could enhance state submissions to the court / the chamber?
  • What can be learned from other bodies of law, notably areas such as law of the sea or international criminal law for which specialised adjudicatory bodies have been created?

Submission of paper proposals

ESIL members are invited to submit proposals for papers to be included in a panel proposal for the 2015 ESIL conference in Oslo. Abstracts should be no more than 500 words and be accompanied by a short CV. Proposals must be submitted by 25 January to Jaye Ellis ( or to Birgit Lode (

From International Law Reporter