Environmental Law

Dangers of policing Malawi's 'green', off-season fishing ban

At the heart of this unusual decision by Malawi’s senior magistrates’ court lies a dramatic account of the dangers involved in trying to protect the fragile ecosystem of the country’s fish-rich Lake Chilwa. Apart from ecological concerns the court also speaks with some anxiety about the way police put their members in unnecessary danger by sending them to deal with well-armed, illegal fishing people while hopelessly outnumbered. They were provided with just a paddle boat – against the engine-powered boats used by the fishermen – and were not adequately armed.

Read judgment

The dangers facing poorly armed police trying to enforce off-season fishing for Malawi’s Lake Chilwa have been graphically illustrated in a new judgment delivered by the country’s senior magistrates’ court last week.

Damage to the environment resides in a hallowed place - Zambian judge

Eight senior Zambian headmen and a traditional princess have challenged the behaviour of the government’s private-public partnership company, Zambia Airforce Projects Ltd, in relation to a building project in an environmentally critical area. Now they have been rewarded by a tough court response in their favour.

Don’t like a court judgment? Just change the law, why don’t you?

Everyone who attended the Jifa training course on environmental law earlier this year will remember Judge Brian Preston. Chief judge of the New South Wales land and environment court, he had remarkable insights into the subject of environmental law and the role of the courts in making environmental rights real. But now the NSW government is taking on a major decision he gave earlier this year in which he cited climate change, among other issues, for turning down a planned coal mine.

 

Though Judge Brian Preston is the author of many other judgments, the best known is a decision he gave in February 2019. It involved a mining company that wanted to extract 21m tons of coal over 16 years in a picturesque country valley. But the minister for planning refused development consent. And that is how the case found itself before Judge Preston, via an appeal by the mining company

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