Hawaii Environmental Court

Hawaii’s Environmental Court is a historic milestone for our islands and the U.S.

– Denise Antolini, UH William S. Richardson School of Law
Senator Les Ihara Jr., Left, and Judge Larry Potter, right

Senator Les Ihara Jr., Left, and Judge Larry Potter, right

KHIB, along with several others including the UH William S. Richardson School of Law and The Outdoor Circle, helped establish the statewide Hawai‘i Environmental Court, the second statewide environmental court system in the nation (Vermont was first). Judge Larry Potter, from the Shelby County (TN) Environmental Court was of significant help in initiating the process and giving support and guidance. The E-Court was officially launched on July 1, 2015, with the goal of ensuring fair, consistent, and effective resolution of cases involving the environment. The Hawai‘i Environmental Court has been in part modeled off of other environmental courts around the world, including those in India, Brazil, and across the U.S.

A total of twenty-two Environmental Court judges are designated in district and circuit courts across the state, with scheduled calendars for environmental hearings. Between July 2015 and May 2016, over 1,600 cases have been filed through the Environmental Court, including 10 criminal cases.

The UH Law School has held several workshops and sessions giving updates on the Environmental Court, and KHIB has held workshops in Honolulu and on Maui. More workshops, symposiums, and outreach events are expected.

What’s Next?

As the Hawai‘i Environmental Court continues to develop, a new group, The Friends of the Hawai‘i Environmental Court, has been created to help in outreach and education. This group consists of diverse stakeholders across Hawai‘i and works to disseminate updates and information regarding the Environmental Court.


Environmental Court

Chief Justice: Hawaii Environmental Court ‘Very Successful’ In First Year