environment tribunal of Mauritius

Environmental democracy & rights

The judicial aspect

As with all jurisdictions, law is not a guarantee of fairness or justice, as long as quality of legal advice is commensurate to financial power. This strengthens the position of decision-makers, promoters, developers and lobbyists as much as it reduces the recourse of the citizen, of the individual.

Mauritius has nevertheless set up an environmental tribunal (ELAT) which few Mauritians appeal to. The specialization of this tribunal would be based on two fundamentals of environmental law:
– the precautionary principle, which recommends that in the absence of scientific data and evidence as to the environmental consequences of a specific project, the State should not grant permits… as a precautionary measure.
– That the environment is everyone’s business and that therefore every citizen is eligible to take to court any other person or entity whose action or project would have harmful consequences for the environment.

Despite the above, the absence of Locus Standi was put forward by promoters in two of the three trials brought by the AKNL citizen platform, including two before the ELAT. This amounts to stating that only the parties likely to suffer prejudices directly would be entitled to file a complaint or contest the action or the project of a third party, damaging the environment.

In this field, mru2025 aims at:
– restore the concept of Locus Standi in environmental law,
– inform citizens about it, as well as their fundamental rights with regard to the environmental issues,
– on top of informing, encouraging these citizens to claim their rights to the commons and the conservation of these,
– to inform and sensitize potential developers and promoters of their moral duty if not legal, to preserve and restore the commons and the environment for a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable societal evolution.

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