VLS U.S.-Asia Partnerships, UVM, ClientEarth Partner to Provide Environmental Law Training to Judges from China

A delegation of Chinese judges are in Vermont for two months of environmental law training sponsored by the U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law (PEL) at Vermont Law School in partnership with the University of Vermont and with support from ClientEarth. The judges hail from courts all over China, including the country's highest judicial body, the Supreme People's Court.

VLS and UVM designed a curriculum that will introduce the Chinese delegation to various scientific and legal challenges that are unique to environmental issues, as well as measures to overcome them.

"Our training program for judges continues Vermont Law School's commitment to positively influencing environmental outcomes around the world," said VLS Professor Siu Tip Lam, director of U.S.-Asia PEL. "We are proud to partner with our colleagues at the University of Vermont and ClientEarth to host this important exchange of ideas with our guests from China."

China's rapid economic growth over the last several decades has successfully lifted millions of people out of poverty, but it has also brought with it numerous environmental challenges. In recent years the Chinese government has taken steps to address these challenges, including the adoption last year of a new Environmental Protection Law. While the progressive new law authorizes citizen watchdogs to file environmental public interest lawsuits against polluters for the first time, Chinese courts are still working out the best ways to manage and adjudicate such lawsuits.

The training program will utilize instructors from VLS and UVM, in addition to guest lectures from environmental judges and environmental law practitioners. The program also will include opportunities for the delegation to give presentations and lectures on China's legal system and current environmental challenges.

"We are honored to have the opportunity to spend time with these distinguished jurists from China and excited at the prospect of exchanging ideas on ways to strengthen environmental protection for the people of China and the world," said VLS Professor Patrick Parenteau, senior counsel at the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic (ENRLC).

"Environmental scientists from the Rubenstein School of Environmental and Natural Resources and College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences are honored to be a part of the team offering this training," said UVM Professor Walter Poleman. "It provides us a unique opportunity to showcase the importance of integrating ecology, engineering, and law as we tackle environmental issues."

For more information about the Environmental Law Training Program, email WilliamSchulte@vermontlaw.edu or call 802-831-1276.

The U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law, founded in 2006 as the U.S.-China Partnership for Environmental Law, works collaboratively with government institutions, nongovernment organizations (NGOs), lawyers, judges, lawmakers and others to promote environmental governance in Asia. In 2013 the U.S.-Asia PEL initiated a Myanmar Environmental Governance Program. More recently, the partnerships embarked on a project working with government entities, NGOs and environmental lawyers from China and countries in the lower Mekong Sub-region—Myanmar, Lao PDR, Cambodia, and Vietnam—to explore ways to sustainably manage the environmental and social impacts of rapidly increasing Chinese overseas investment in the region. For more information about the U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law, visit vermontlaw.edu/us-asia, and follow on Facebook and Twitter.


Vermont Law School, a private, independent institution, is home to the nation's largest and deepest environmental law program. VLS offers a Juris Doctor curriculum that emphasizes public service; three Master's Degrees—Master of Environmental Law and Policy, Master of Energy Regulation and Law, and Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy; and four post-JD degrees —LLM in American Legal Studies (for foreign-trained lawyers), LLM in Energy Law, LLM in Environmental Law, and LLM in Food and Agriculture Law. The school features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center, South Royalton Legal Clinic, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, Energy Clinic, Food and Agriculture Clinic, and Center for Applied Human Rights. For more information, visit vermontlaw.edu, find us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.​

Founded in 1791, the University of Vermont is one of the nation's oldest and most respected research universities. Its strong tradition of liberal education integrates the humanities, the arts and the sciences to promote broad and deep learning. A Public Ivy, UVM is well known for academic strength in the liberal arts, environment, healthcare, leadership and public service. The university has been nationally recognized for its commitment to equality, diversity and inclusivity. For more information, visit uvm.edu, and follow on Facebook and Twitter.