Who Are We ?

The editors of this website are Principal Environment Judge Laurence Newhook of the Environment Court of New Zealand and Associate Professor Ceri Warnock of the University of Otago, New Zealand. They are supported by two of the foremost world experts on Environment Courts and Tribunals (ECTs), George W (Rock) Pring, Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law in Denver, Colorado, USA and Catherine G (Kitty) Pring, an award-winning professional mediator and facilitator. The Prings are co-directors of the University of Denver Environmental Courts and Tribunals Study, and authors of books and papers on the subject of ECTs worldwide. This website and the linked conferences held in Oslo (2016) and Auckland (2017) are generously funded by the Royal Society of New Zealand. The University of Otago hosts the 'Environmental-Adjudication.org' website in its law school which offers a strong emphasis on Environmental Law.

This website is concerned with all forms of environmental adjudication including adjudication that takes place within general courts, but it is particularly concerned with dispute resolution that occurs in dedicated/specialist courts and tribunals (ECTs) in countries around the world.

Professor Emeritus George (Rock) Pring and Kitty Pring report that there are in excess of 1000 ECTs in 44 nations today, and this figure is growing rapidly. Resolving environmental problems creates challenges for traditional conceptions of adjudication and forms of litigation.

Traditionally, courts and tribunals adjudicating civil disputes deliberate about historical fact against a backdrop of civil or criminal law, often between two or occasionally more parties concerning limited private law issues. In such bodies, judges sitting alone are usually the decision-makers. However, adjudicating over environmental problems very often involves: making predictive decisions about the future as opposed to fact-finding in relation to the past; factual uncertainty; allocating risk-burdens; normative conflicts; multi-scalar phenomenon (in both geographical and temporal terms); evidence that is expert-opinion heavy; polycentricity; a wide range of actors and those impacted upon; giving legal meaning to ecological terms and socio-cultural ontologies; and it may need to encompass a fast-changing factual and regulatory context.

This aim of this website is to facilitate international collaboration and mutual capacity-building amongst ECTs, with input from academic commentators and other experts, in order to discuss and debate how best to address the challenges of environmental adjudication.

Amongst the collaborations we envisage will be exchanges of conference papers, academic commentary, news of events, the posting and discussion of important case law, experimental procedural developments, and general exchange of views.

Given the constitutional separation of powers in many countries, some judicial participants might prefer that their collaborations and exchanges take place in a secure environment, which we have catered for.  Judges and ECT commissioners may register to have access to the closed discussion group (please see participants 'Login' page for the application to register).

Beyond that, we encourage the wider exchange of views including those of academic researchers and commentators, to the end that more value may come from open professional exchanges of views.  Potential contributors are invited to contact us (please see 'Contact' page).

Meet Our Team

Judge Laurie Newhook
Judge Laurie Newhook

Judge Laurence Newhook, Principal Judge of the Environment Court of New Zealand, LLB (hons) (Auck), AAMINZ

Judge Laurie Newhook has been the Principal Judge of the New Zealand Environment Court since 2011, and a Judge of the Court since 2001.  Prior to that he was a partner at Brookfields Lawyers and had over thirty years of advocacy experience to that point, with emphasis on environmental matters. Judge Newhook has authored or co-authored over 350 judgments, presented at many national and international conferences on the themes of environmental adjudication and the use of technology in adjudicative settings, and has written multiple papers on the subjects.  His Honour is a consulting editor of the New Zealand Resource Management Bulletin and edits the ‘Annual Review by Members of the New Zealand Environment Court’ (https://environmentcourt.govt.nz/decisions-publications/). Judge Newhook has hosted international delegations to his Court from many parts of the World; chaired and presented at the ‘International Forum for Environment Judges’, Oslo, Norway, 21 June 2016; and chaired plenary sessions at the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium, Pluricourts, Oslo, 2016. 

Associate Professor Ceri Warnock
Associate Professor Ceri Warnock

Associate Professor Ceri Warnock LLB (Hons)(Cardiff), LLM (Auck), MSt (Oxon)

Ceri Warnock is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law, University of Otago. Her primary research concerns environmental constitutionalism and explores in particular the impact of modern governmental ordering on theories for environmental adjudication. She was the recipient of the 2014 ‘New Zealand Law Foundation International Research Fellowship - Te Manatū a Ture o Aotearoa Te Karahipi Rangahau Ā Taiao’ for her work into legitimacy and specialist environment courts and tribunals. Ceri course manages and teaches Resource Management Law, Energy Law and Inter-disciplinary Aspects of Climate Change, and is part of the Public Law teaching team. She has been a visiting lecturer at Kings College London, tutored at Hertford College, University of Oxford and prior to joining the Faculty of Law at Otago in 2006 practiced as a barrister in England and Wales.

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Professor George (Rock) Pring
Professor George (Rock) Pring

Professor of Law Emeritus George Rock Pring, BA (Harvard), JD (Michigan)

Professor Rock Pring’s area of specialization centers on environmental and natural resources issues internationally and nationally. He has taught and published extensively, and continues to serve as a consultant to governments and public-interest organizations on specialized environmental courts and tribunals (ECTs), access to environmental justice, sustainable development, human rights, resource development, and nature preservation. While at Denver Law, Prof. Pring taught numerous courses including International Environmental Law, International Water Law, Environmental Law, Water Law, Public Land and Resources Law, Administrative Law, and Constitutional Law. Professor Pring and his wife, Kitty Pring are Co-directors of the University of Denver Environmental Courts and Tribunals Study (at http://www.law.du.edu/ect-study), and authored the first comparative book on this exploding phenomenon, Greening Justice: Creating and Improving Environmental Courts and Tribunals. He has authored and co-authored a number of other books, articles, encyclopedia chapters, and studies, including a leading treatise on International Environmental Law and the book SLAPPs: Getting Sued for Speaking Out, under a National Science Foundation grant, which first named and drew international attention to the problem of “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation” or “SLAPPs” – abusive lawsuits designed to chill citizens’ communications with their government. Professor Pring is a former US Representative to the Academic Advisory Group of the International Bar Association’s Section on Energy, Environment, and Resources Law. He also has served as chair of the State of Colorado Hazardous Waste Commission, adjunct professor in the graduate Environmental Science and Engineering Program at the Colorado School of Mines, and is co-founder and vice president for conservation of the Clear Creek Land Conservancy.

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Catherine (Kitty) Pring
Catherine (Kitty) Pring

Catherine Kitty Pring BA (Vassar), MA (Michigan)

Catherine (Kitty) Pringis an award-winning professional mediator and facilitator, systems analyst, and former public administrator. Her work has included group and community facilitation, organizational assessment, program design, and systems evaluation in health and human services organizations, as well as group and individual conflict resolution in the areas of environment, domestic violence, employment, family, real estate, medical practice, contract negotiations, and community issues.  She is the Principal of Global Environmental Outcomes LLC and Co-Director of the University of Denver Environmental Courts and Tribunals Study, the first global comparative study of specialized ECTs (www.law.du.edu/ect-study). She and her spouse, University of Denver Professor of Law Emeritus George (Rock) Pring, have authored the pioneering book on ECTs – Greening Justice: Creating and Improving Environmental Courts and Tribunals – and numerous articles and book chapters about these remarkable adjudication institutions in the US and abroad. As Principals in the international consulting firm Global Environmental Resources LLC (GEO), they speak, evaluate, and consult with governments and civil society about ECTs, access to justice, environment and sustainable development, and human rights.

Kitty was the State of Colorado Ombudsman for Medicaid Managed Care, following her retirement after 15 years as the Director of the Adult Services Division for the City and County of Denver Department of Human Services. As Director of Adult Services, with over 240 employees, she was responsible for managing 10 major human services programs in six different locations serving over 100,000 persons on an annual basis. She also performed program development and evaluation, legislative lobbying, and grant writing. She has served as an expert witness in cases including implementation of computerized welfare benefit management systems.