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Courting Environmental Justice: Exploring the Adjudicatory Dimensions in a Globalised World (Advert Reference: SF19/BL/LAW/GILL)

Faculty of Business and Law

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Prof G Gill Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Access to justice rights, a strong procedural dimension, in environmental justice discourse requires fair, open, informed and inclusive state institutional processes. These are the means to redress environmental damage or harm, and protect and enforce legitimate interests to further the rule of law and environmental sustainability. Within this context, the role of judiciary in shaping and facilitating the development of environmental laws, policies and principles is crucial. The judiciary act as an ‘agent of development’ institutionalizing deliberative and democratic participation and the construction of capabilities of individuals, groups and nature to ensure environmental governance.

Facilitating innovative judicial leadership requires the judiciary to reframe its thinking and the application of environmental principles and adjudicatory processes at international and domestic for achieving ecological sustainable development. For instance, currently the recognition of the rights of nature has been promoted within several jurisdictions implying a holistic approach to all life and ecosystems. The role of a specialised, responsive and transformative judiciary is critical in acknowledging, developing and interpreting environmental laws moving, albeit slowly, from an anthropocentric to a bio-centric and/or eco-centric approach. Further, recognising scientific experts (an epistemic community) within an adjudicatory setup would determine pathways and provide future course of actions for a collective, symbiotic, inter-disciplinary, wise and timely decision-making. Harmonising legal norms with scientific knowledge would promote ecological justice aimed at protecting and respecting the earth and its system and ensuring equitable and social welfare of the people thereby addressing potential conflicts between people and the planet. However, the introduction of scientific determinants, as presented by experts, into legal rationality, as exercised by the judiciary raises questions such as the neutrality and objectivity of science and the role and limits of judicial creativity.

This project is supervised by Professor Gita Gill.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see:

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF19/…) will not be considered.

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

Please note this is a self-funded project and does not include tuition fees or stipend.



Environmental Justice in India: The National Green Tribunal- (Routledge UK- Earthscan, Environmental and Sustainability Development Studies, January 2017)


Environmental Constitutionalism in India: in the book titled ‘Environmental Constitutionalism: Impact on Legal Systems?’ edited by Professor Jochen Sohnle, (in press- Peter Lang Publication December 2019)

Environmental Standards and the Right to Life in India: Regulatory Frameworks and Judicial Enterprise in Standards in Environmental Rights, edited by Stephen Turner, Dinah Shelton, Jona Razzaque, Owen McIntyre and James May (CUP 2019) pp 222-246 REF 2021*

Access to Environmental Justice in India: Innovation and Change in Procedural Environmental Rights: Principle X in Theory and Practice, edited by Jerzy Jendrośka and Magdalena Bar (Intersentia 2018) pp 209-228


The National Green Tribunal, India: Evolving Adjudicatory Dimensions of a specialized Forum, Environmental Policy and Law (2019) 49 (2-3) 153-162

Mapping the Power Struggle within the National Green Tribunal of India: The Rise and Fall? Asian Journal of Law and Society (published on 28 August 2018; Cambridge University Press Open Access

The National Green Tribunal of India: Decision-Making, Scientific Expertise and Uncertainty, Journal of Environmental Law and Management (Special Edition) (2017) 29(2-3), pp 82-88
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