Traveling for Justice

20 August 2013

Marie Brown handed in her PhD on ecological compensation and soon after found herself selected to travel to the World Justice Forum in The Hague in the Netherlands. She’s there this month, representing the Environmental Defence Society – a leading non-profit organisation in environmental protection and projects.

EDS director and Waikato University Law Professor Barry Barton says Marie was the ideal choice for a representative. As part of her doctorate, the Law and Science student assessed how pre-agreed "ecological compensation" was being met across 245 conditions in 81 different resource consents granted across New Zealand and found that just over 35% of requirements were not being met and agriculture was the worst of all the activity type surveys.

"In my former life as a council officer, I observed these exchanges occurring all the time, where damage to the environment results in an agreement being made for a positive conservation action to be taken," says Marie.

She was curious as to how this mechanism was being implemented across the country, given that there was little specific policy and much discussion in the literature and in practice of concerns about implementation and the potential promise of it to conservation.

Her study has prompted calls for authorities to crack down on environmental monitoring efforts.

In the Netherlands, Marie will be among more than 500 leaders from all over the world there to discuss how the rule of law affects their disciplines and regions and to develop collaborative actions to strengthen the rule of law. Marie’s trip was paid for by the EDS, the Waikato University’s Centre for Environmental Resources and Energy Law (CEREL), and the World Justice Project.