Constitutional Directions in Procedural Environmental Rights

33 Pages Posted: 24 Dec 2013 Last revised: 2 Jan 2014

See all articles by James May

James May

Widener University Delaware Law School

Date Written: December 19, 2013


Nearly three-quarters of the nations on the planet have chosen to adopt constitutions with environmental provisions that aim to advance an end. These provisions take various forms. Some confer a substantive right to a quality environment or impose a duty to protect it. Some impose duties on governmental decisions affecting the environment, such as sustainability or the public trust. Still others address specific concerns, such as water rights or climate change. The constitutions of some countries reflect several varieties of these provisions. Some constitutional provisions, however, focus more on the means of making decisions in environmental matters than on the ends to be achieved. Over the last two decades, nearly three-dozen countries have chosen to have their constitutions embed procedural rights in environmental matters. This article concludes that these provisions have untapped potential for advancing environmental protection worldwide.

Keywords: constitutional law, constitutions, environmental law, environmental protection

JEL Classification: K32, Q2

Suggested Citation

May, James, Constitutional Directions in Procedural Environmental Rights (December 19, 2013). Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation, Vol. 28, 2013; Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14-05. Available at SSRN:

James May (Contact Author)

Widener University Delaware Law School ( email )

4601 Concord Pike
Wilmington, DE 19803-0406
United States

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