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What is necessary to ensure natural justice in environmental impact assessment decision-making?

Morrison-Saunders, A. and Early, G. (2008) What is necessary to ensure natural justice in environmental impact assessment decision-making? Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 26 (1). pp. 29-42.

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The concept of natural justice comprises certain legal principles that, taken together, constitute procedural fairness in administrative decision-making. It is closely aligned to the notion of public participation, a key element of most environmental impact assessment (EIA) throughout the world. But is natural justice the same as public participation, and if not, what are the differences between them? We review a number of international EIA procedures and legal cases, and find that the concept of natural justice appears to be a 'grey area' of EIA which is not explicitly addressed in many jurisdictions. More advanced systems of impact assessment generally provide for a high level of public participation, thereby facilitating both transparency and accountability; however, this is not the same as natural justice. We conclude that while institutional arrangements for EIA may have a bearing on the nature and level of public participation that is appropriate, natural justice should never be compromised, and EIA regimes should specifically address the need for natural justice when new information arises which may be significant in the decision-making

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Beech Tree Publishing
Copyright: © IAIA 2008
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