Bill of Law for the Creation of Environmental Courts

November 12, 2021
Natalia Álvarez
Published in
Asuntos Legales, La República

On August 4, 2021, statutory bill No. 196/2021, "whereby provisionsfor the creation of Special Environmental Courts in the Colombian State andother provisions are issued" was filed in the House of Representatives.

The purpose of this bill is to create, organize and structure thespecial environmental courts in Colombia, in order to settle environmentalconflicts in the national territory.

The environmental courts would be part of the ordinary andcontentious-administrative jurisdiction. Five courts will be created withjurisdiction in the Amazon, Andean, Caribbean, Orinoco and Pacific regions,whose judges, in addition to being lawyers, must have studies in environmentalsciences.

Although to date the bill is uncertain, as it is in an initialevaluation stage and must then wait for the entire legislative process to becompleted, it is a valuable initiative that responds to the need for access tospecialized justice for the purpose of obtaining legal decisions that respectenvironmental standards and technical criteria. This translates into anobjective and effective protection of the environment, in addition toguaranteeing legal certainty by having judges who are familiar withenvironmental legislation.

Access to environmental justice is one of the current problems of theColombian judicial system, not only because of the judges' lack of knowledge ofthe legal system that regulates the matter, but also because of the lack ofrigorousness in the subsequent control of the decisions that are made.

In this sense, the creation of environmental courts in Colombia is theway, through law, to ensure legal rigor in the protection of the environmentand to strengthen the effectiveness of administrative decisions regarding therational and sustainable use of natural resources, as well as access toenvironmental justice.

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