Following a 2008 training course that EEPSEA jointly organized with the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN) and the 2012 in-country training course for the Thai justices, EEPSEA sponsored another course for green bench justices last 1-4 December 2014. Entitled Economic Values, Compensation and the Environment, the course brought together 25 justices from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, and the Philippines to discuss the economic approaches used to measure the value of environmental goods and services as well as the use of such values in environmental adjudication cases. Economist Dr. Benoit Laplante and Justice Brian Preston of Australia’s Land and Environment Court of New South Wales served as the course resource persons.
The course was structured around cases of environmental conflicts (e.g., deforestation, oil spill, mining, and pollution and natural resource damages) that have direct and indirect health impacts. The theories and the tools for analyzing the economic value of the damages were discussed. Participants commented that while they have dealt with environmental conflicts prior to the training, these have been viewed primarily as either tort cases or criminal cases, so the training course “was like an eye-opener” for them, giving a systematic approach on how they can determine the value of damages and the required compensation.
The course led to several requests for further training. Vice President of the Royal Academy for Judicial Profession Mr. Chenda Thong requests that EEPSEA organize an in-country activity in Cambodia for final year law students who will graduate to become either environmental justices or public prosecutors. There is also a request from the Thai justices for joint funding with EEPSEA to organize a second in-country training to facilitate continued dialogue on the economic valuation of environmental impacts and the setting of compensation in cases of environmental litigation. The target group will be more junior justices from Preliminary Courts and Civil Courts.