Members of the Third Environmental Court

Mr. Michael Hantke Domas

Chief Justice of the Third Environmental Court ot Chile. Justice Hantke Domas (LL.B at the Universidad Andrés Bello, Santiago, Chile; PhD at the University of East Anglia ESRC Centre for Competition Policy and the Norwich Business School, Scotland, UK).

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Tercer Tribunal Ambiental
University of Dundee

Ms. Sibel Villalobos Volpi

Deputy Justice of the Third Environmental Court of Chile. Justice Villalobos Volpi (BS in Marine Biology at the Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile; Master of Science in Water Resources at the Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile).

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Organization Chart

Chilean Environmental Courts Act (2012)

The Chilean Environmental Courts Act No. 20.600 (2012) established three courts in the country, the First Environmental Court in Antofagasta, the Second Environmental Court in Santiago, and the Third Environmental Court in Valdivia.

These Courts are specialized judicial bodies whose duties are to adjudge environmental disputes and other matters that the law subjects to its attention. The Courts are under the supervision of the Supreme Court.

The selection of justices consists in a four-tiered process, involving the Public Council Senior Management, the Supreme Court, the President of Chile, and the Congress (Senate).


Court Mixed Composition

The Third Environmental Court (3TA, by its Spanish acronym), reviews administrative environmental decisions and adjudges environmental damages lawsuits.

The court is composed by three Justices, two of them lawyers, and one of them a bachelor in sciences, all of them with academic background and/or experience in environmental matters. In addition, the 3TA has two diputies Justices, a lawyer and a bachelor in sciences, who sits on the chair of the Justice (in absence) of their related field of knowledge (law ar science).

In addition to the Justices, the Court has a staff of 16 professionals. 7 of them have graduate level (three Ph.D., three master degrees, and one specialization), from Chilean and foreign universities in disciplines such as law, economics, environmental science, management and financing, public relation, and public policy.


Standing Criteria

Any person or legal entities can bring a case to the Court, depending on the subject. Each particular matter has its own standing criteria. All cases must be brought to the Court through a lawyer. Proceedings are free of charge.

The Court has an electronic case management system, which is permanently available online to facilitate community access.


Geographical Jurisdiction

The 3TA hears cases from the South of Chile, including the following regions of Chile (from North to South): Biobío (VIII Region), Araucanía (IX Region), Los Ríos (XIV Region), Los Lagos (X Region), Aysén del General Carlos lbáñez del Campo (XI Region), and Magallanes y Antártica Chilena (XII Region). Our geographic jurisdiction is shown in the following map.

Jurisdiction

The Court hears cases on nine matters, in general terms:

  • 1. Claims against Supreme Decrees (presidential orders) establishing (i) environmental quality standards; (ii) and emission standards; (iii) and non attainment areas, in terms of pollution (Prevention of Significant Deterioration 'PSD' and State Implementation Plan 'SIP').
  • 2. Environmental damage lawsuits pursuing restoration of the environment.
  • 3. Claims against decisions of the Superintendence of the Environment (Environmental Enforcement Agency).
  • 4. Ex ante approval of environmental order to be issued by Approval Superintendence of the Environ­ment.
  • 5. Claims against decisions made by the Environmental Assessment Service.
  • 6. Claims for ignoring comments made by persons during the public participation process within the environmental assessment of a project.
  • 7. Claims of illegality against administrative acts excecuting or implementing quality and emission standards decrees, as well as prevention and remediation plans.
  • 8. Claims against decisions on annulment procedures of administrative acts of environ­mental nature.
  • 9. Hearing of other matters that the law subjects to the attention of the Court.

For more information about the Court, please visit www.3ta.cl