The UK Earth Law Judgments Project


We are now at a moment in human history when there is growing global consensus around the need for urgent action to protect the future of our planet, but confusion as to what that action should look like. Legal attempts to address climate biodiversity crises have yet to produce adequate solutions that recognise the interdependent nature of human-Earth relationships. 


The UK Earth Law Judgments Project addresses a critical global issue in a way that is new for the UK. Following in the footsteps of feminist judgments projects and the recent Wild Law Judgment Project led by Australian scholars, the project aims to challenge current anthropocentric approaches in legal decision making by reimagining important UK legal judgments from a range of perspectives within the field of Earth Law.

The project aims to change legal culture by:

  • Recognising and identifying the limits of current law in caring for the planet.
  • Engaging with eco-conscious theories in the field of Earth Law to challenge dominant anthropocentric paradigms concerning relationships between people and place.
  • Building consensus around alternative eco-conscious visions for legal decision-making.

What do we mean by Earth Law?

We use the term ‘Earth Law’ flexibly to refer to a range of possible eco-conscious and posthuman approaches, including Earth jurisprudence, Wild Law, Rights of Nature (including rights of nonhuman species), environmental human rights (including the rights of future generations), the public trust doctrine, ecocide, and holistic and ancient belief systems.

Project activities

The project was officially launched by Dr Helen Dancer and Dr Bonnie Holligan at the UK Environmental Law Association Wild Law and Activism Conference at the University of Sussex on Saturday 9 November 2019.

On 1 July 2020 we held an on-line workshop: ‘Earth Law Judging: Learning from Experience’ for interested contributors, including academics, legal professionals, students and artists. The academic leads of the Australian Wild Law Judgment Project, Dr Michelle Maloney and Dr Nicole Rogers, discussed their experiences and the Hon Justice Brian Preston SC, Chief Judge of the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales, provided a keynote speech.

The workshop provided opportunity for the project leads and participants to learn from the experience of the Australian project, to reflect on the important methodological differences between Earth law and feminist alternative judgments projects, and the possibilities for what Justice Preston describes as “judging wildly”. 

Project workshops in 2021

We are delighted to announce that the project has received funding from the Society of Legal Scholars to hold an in-person event for judgment and commentary writers at the Middle Temple in the heart of legal London in late autumn 2021.

Prior to the autumn workshop, in summer 2021 we will be holding an on-line workshop for judgment writers, where contributors will have the opportunity to exchange ideas, discuss work in progress and contribute to shaping the intellectual and creative direction of the project

Planned publications, artistic contributions and public outreach

The project will produce an edited book and associated materials to facilitate the teaching of Earth Law approaches across the legal curriculum, not only in the field of environmental law. This will also provide a resource for judges, legal practitioners, university law teachers and students to critically reflect on current approaches to judicial decision-making.

The project also seeks to inspire artistic interpretations and build connections between the academic and legal communities and wider public audiences. Our plans include an art exhibition and a teaching toolkit for secondary school-age students to engage with issues around law and ecology. If you are interested in becoming involved in the project as an artist or through other forms of contribution, please contact the project co-ordinators.

Contact us

The project is co-ordinated by Dr Helen Dancer and Dr Bonnie Holligan, School of Law Politics and Sociology, University of Sussex.

Follow the project on Twitter @earthlawjudging.


The project is generously supported by the Society of Legal Scholars.

Logo of Society of Legal Scholars