Developments in environmental justice in Scotland

Closed 10 Jun 2016

Opened 18 Mar 2016

Published Responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


The paper sets out the recent, major changes to the court system in Scotland. In doing so, we provide an overview of the justice landscape as it is relevant to environmental cases.

The first section of this paper describes the unprecedented change that the Scottish legal system is experiencing, and sets out the recent action that the Scottish Government has taken in relation to both our civil and criminal courts.

The second section concentrates on the environmental laws aimed at protecting and enhancing our wildlife and the environment and how the criminal justice system deals with breaches of those laws.

The consultation seeks views on whether further change is needed in the justice landscape to protect wildlife and the environment and to provide better access to justice in civil environmental cases.


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Click here to download a copy of the consultation paper

Why We Are Consulting

In 2011, the SNP made a manifesto commitment to publish an options paper on an environmental court or tribunal in the context of environmental and wildlife crime.

Expectations amongst the environmental NGOs is that this options paper will look more widely at environmental cases (particularly planning) in the justice system.

This paper sets out what has been done by the Scottish Government for environmental justice and seeks views on whether those consulted consider that more needs to be done.

What Happens Next

The Scottish Government will analyse the responses.

It will consult with the Lord President and the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service as to whether any change is required to the civil environmental justice landscape and whether it is meeting its access to justice commitments under the Aarhus convention. It will consult with the Lord Advocate and the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service on whether any change is required to the criminal justice system in relation to environmental and wildlife crime.


  • People of Scotland


  • Environment and Climate Change