Legal principle

A precedent is a legal principle, which is created by a court decision to provide an example or authority for judges deciding similar issues later. Decisions by higher courts (within a particular system of courts), generally are mandatory precedent on lower courts within that system i. e. the principle announced by a higher court must be followed in later cases (Lectric Law Library's Lexicon, 2010).

Recently, in a similar case, the Supreme Court gave judgment reason being that the proposed development was against the public interest since it resulted in the destruction of a significant portion of forested land considered important for maintaining natural habitats. LEGAL ISSUES INVOLVED Though our client’s property also incorporates part of a similar forest, its impact is of much lesser degree compared to the past one.

Since a dispute has arisen between the client and a local resident’s action group that has to be resolved in the Environmental Management Court, which is below the Supreme Court in hierarchy, we will have to hold separate consultations with the group and our client. We will verify legitimate representatives of these stakeholder groups and address the underlying needs and fears of the community. To urge them to withdraw the case since this development is of slight magnitude, we will explain to them the potential benefits to build consensus.

Decisions of lower courts are not binding on higher courts, although from time to time a higher court will adopt the reasoning and conclusion of a lower court (Lectric Law Library's Lexicon, 2010). Although the Environmental Management Court is a lower court compared to the Supreme Court, in this case, the latter had already given judgement. However, in case of a different judgement by the Environmental Management Court, the Supreme Court may adopt their conclusion.

Private and public law have had a long-standing role in the regulation of rural land use and development. There has been the pursuit of scientific and preservationist goals of nature conservation and landscape protection as well as economic and social need for the provision of food, raw materials, recreation, amenity, employment and housing. In the rural environment, development provokes fundamental questions about the law relating to particular areas such as parks, wetlands and reserved areas (Herbert-Young, 1999).

The overall purpose of the environmental assessment procedure is to protect and preserve the environment. In the United Kingdom, environmental assessment forms part of a decision- making process. It is not the sole determinant of the decision to be taken in relation to any given project but it intends to ensure that decision-makers and other parties are advised properly of the environmental effects of that project (May et al, 1996). Capacity Building and Conflict Management Process

Due to the recent court ruling, we would revisit it and train independent land mediators in consensual (win-win) negotiation skills. Raise the awareness of all stakeholders in the contested area of importance in terms of global biodiversity. We would introduce informal community-based discussions to urge the local stakeholders to manage their conflicts without outside mediation; deliver training in people-skills and consensus building and negotiation.

We would invite all the parties to build healthy relationships to ensure they can manage their own disputes. LIST OF REFERENCES: From the ‘Lectric Law Library's Lexicon. ’ Precedent: Available at: http://lectlaw2. securesites. net/def2/p069. htm. [Accessed May 12, 2010]. Herbert-Young, N. (1999). Law, Policy and Development in the Rural Environment. Cardiff, Wales: University of Wales Press. May, P. J. et al (1996). Environmental Management and Governance: Intergovernmental Approaches to Hazards and Sustainability. New York: Routledge.