Research Topics

Publications

The U4 Blog

Learning & events

About Us

TNRC Publication

Beyond the institutional fix? The potential of strategic litigation to target natural resource corruption

In many contexts in which conservation and natural resource management practitioners work, ineffective environmental regulations and the rule of law deficits have led to irreparable social and environmental damage. Corruption has enabled this damage, undermining regulations and promoting impunity for violating laws or causing harm. Strategic litigation is the pursuit of court-based strategies in the public interest to bring about social change beyond the individual case. Conservation and natural resource management practitioners can learn important lessons from past strategic litigation efforts in the field of natural resource governance.

31 January 2022
Download PDF

Main points

  • Strategic litigation is the pursuit of court-based strategies in the public interest to bring about social change beyond the individual case. In the context of this paper, strategic litigation attempts to bridge the gap between state-led anti-corruption efforts and the use of courts to improve environmental and natural resource governance. Conservation and natural resource management practitioners can learn important lessons from past strategic litigation efforts in the field of natural resource governance.
  • Where court rulings can be enforced, strategic litigation may help ensure accountability for corrupt practices in natural resource management. However, where governments do not necessarily implement court rulings, or where the justice system is undermined or lacks capacity, non-court-based elements of strategic litigation may be necessary to overcome the impunity of powerful actors.
  • Other challenges, like the high cost of bringing strategic litigation cases, the public spotlight and exposure, and the potential to undermine other more collaborative approaches mean that strategic litigation is not a panacea for corruption in natural resource governance.
  • If stakeholders decide to pursue strategic litigation strategies, taking action in multiple jurisdictions, complementing existing anti-corruption initiatives, and collaborating with other social movements and non-state actors can help make strategic litigation more effective.

Cite this publication


Gargule, A.; (2022) Beyond the institutional fix? The potential of strategic litigation to target natural resource corruption. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (TNRC Publication )

Download PDF

About the author

Achiba A. Gargule is a human geographer focusing on natural resources governance, specialising in development policy, land-rights inequities, and frontier transformations

Disclaimer


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Keywords


wildlife, forestry, fisheries, strategic litigation