Pacific Judicial Council educates judges on climate change

F. Philip Carbullido is the newly elected Chief Justice of the Guam Supreme Court.

The regional working group is holding its 2017 Environmental Science and Law conference on Guam.

Guam – Supreme Court Justice Phillip Carbullido says this year’s conference is focused on educating judges about the science involved with climate change and the protection of the marine environment. Most of the judges on Guam are general jurisdiction judges who know how to litigate laws of general application. Environmental laws on the other hand, are a little more specialized and they require some knowledge judges may not be as familiar with.

“There are specific sciences that we are hoping to expose and educate our judges to become familiar with various treaties, conventions, regional partnerships. And PJC not only has Guam and the CNMI and American Samoa, but more importantly the Federated States of Micronesia who have unique challenges in relation to the marine environment that they have been entrusted with. And so, we want to share resources with our judicial brethren and sisters,” said Justice Carbullido.

Justice Carbullido says they are learning a lot from some of the other jurisdictions in the region about the unique challenges they have in terms of enforcing things in their waters.

“Just for example, I mean Pohnpei has a huge licensing requirement for who can fish in their EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) in terms of the long liners the purse seiners. And so, I just learned in there that the Federated States of Micronesia, in terms of Pohnpei—they get $60 million in license fees annually in licensing boats that come out to fish in their area. And so now we are exposed to all these various regional and sub regional agreements that they operate under. And so how can we assist them in the interpretation of these agreements and conventions and enabling statues and so this is something that I’m wanting to help undertake in terms of assisting our judicial officers in the region,” said Justice Carbullido.

Justice Carbullido says that by pooling their resources they hope to further educate the judges in the Pacific region which in turn will improve the judicial systems throughout the region.