Slow justice and other unexpected consequences of litigation in environmental conflicts

Marta Conde Puigmal, Mariana Walter, Lucrecia Wagner, Grettel Navas

Producció científica: Contribució a una revistaArticleRecercaAvaluat per experts

1 Citació (Scopus)
7 Descàrregues (Pure)


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.
Títol traduït de la contribucióJusticia lenta y otras consecuencias inesperadas por la litigación en conflictos ambientales
Idioma originalEnglish
Número d’article102762
Nombre de pàgines10
RevistaGlobal Environmental Change
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - 1 de des. 2023


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