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Slow justice and other unexpected consequences of litigation in environmental conflicts

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dc.contributor.author Conde, Marta
dc.contributor.author Walter, Mariana
dc.contributor.author Wagner, Lucrecia
dc.contributor.author Navas, Grettel
dc.date.accessioned 2024-04-08T05:46:46Z
dc.date.available 2024-04-08T05:46:46Z
dc.date.issued 2023
dc.identifier.citation Conde M, Walter M, Wagner L, Navas G. Slow justice and other unexpected consequences of litigation in environmental conflicts. Global Environmental Change. 2023 Dec;83:102762. DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2023.102762
dc.identifier.issn 0959-3780
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10230/59679
dc.description.abstract Movements are increasingly taking companies to court for environmental and social harms. Yet little is known about the consequences this strategy has for movements and their struggles. Through a cross-country comparison of three environmental litigation cases in Argentina, Nicaragua, and Spain, we find that local groups encounter three interrelated consequences: i) ‘slow justice’, a strategy generally driven by companies to delay proceedings and demobilize movements; ii) courts reduce complex impacts to simplified, scientifically verifiable and legally punishable damages, thus invisibilizing certain harms, victims, narratives and demands; and iii) local groups lose control of the resistance process as judges and lawyers become key decision-makers. These dynamics interact with the specific features of environmental conflicts —uncertainty, slow violence and marginalized affected parties— to deepen power inequalities in litigation processes. Our findings are contextualized within the literatures on legal mobilization and the judicialization of politics. We conclude that social movements, when looking for a fair and just solution through the judicial system, encounter different but highly hierarchical power structures. And even if they win in the courts, companies can avoid complying with the judicial orders.
dc.description.sponsorship The authors want to thank Dr. Gabriela Merlinsky, Dr. Christos Zografos, Dr. Phil Steinberg, Dr, Giorgos Kallis and the EJAtlas team for their useful comments and reviews of earlier versions of the paper, as well as the anonymous reviews of the GEC. We also thank Dr. Sam Bliss for his engaged copy-editing. Marta Conde acknowledges funding from Recercaixa 2017 ‘Activism Mobilising Science’ (Obra Social La Caixa and ACUP) and Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant (897072). Grettel Navas and Mariana Walter thank support from Joan Martinez Alier’s Balzan Prize 2020. This research also contributes to ICTA-UAB “María de Maeztu” Programme for Units of Excellence of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (CEX2019-000940-M). Lucrecia Wagner acknowledges support from a CONICET external postdoctoral scholarship.
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso eng
dc.publisher Elsevier
dc.relation.ispartof Global Environmental Change. 2023 Dec;83:102762
dc.rights © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
dc.subject.other Ambientalisme
dc.subject.other Moviments socials
dc.subject.other Justícia ambiental
dc.title Slow justice and other unexpected consequences of litigation in environmental conflicts
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/article
dc.identifier.doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2023.102762
dc.relation.projectID info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EC/H2020/897072
dc.rights.accessRights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess
dc.type.version info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion

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