The goal of the Hawai`i Environmental Courts is to ensure the fair, consistent, and effective resolution of cases involving the environment.
Hawaii’s Environmental Courts were established pursuant to Act 218, Session Laws of Hawaii 2014, enacted as Hawaii Revised Statues Chapter 604A “Environmental Courts.”
Hawai`i is only the second state in America to have a statewide environmental court. In 1990, Vermont founded the nation’s first statewide environmental court. No other statewide environmental courts were formed in the U.S. until Hawaii’s passage of Act 218, (2014).
Hawaii’s Environmental Courts will have broad jurisdiction, covering water, forests, streams, beaches, air, and mountains, along with terrestrial and marine life.
Key contributors to the implementation of the Environmental Courts across the state include the police, prosecuting attorneys, public defenders, the private defense bar, corporation counsels, the State Attorney General, the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, court administrators, chief judges, as well as district and circuit court judges assigned to the Environmental Courts.
Hawaii’s Environmental Courts began operations on July 1, 2015.
Environmental Court judges are designated in the district and circuit courts statewide. Each circuit has scheduled their environmental calendars for specific days of the month. When judges do not have environmental cases, they will hear other types of cases.
Initial appearances for Environmental Court criminal cases will be placed on the regular arraignment and plea calendars in their respective districts. After the initial appearance in court, subsequent proceedings will be placed appropriately on the Environmental Court Calendar in their respective district and circuit courts.
Parties may appeal rulings from the respective district or circuit courts in accordance with the Hawai`i Rules of Appellate Procedure, through the Hawai`i Intermediate Court of Appeals, and finally to the Hawai`i Supreme Court.
Download and print forms for your case.