Light from the Trees: The Story of Minors Oposa and the Russian Forest Cases


This article describes two lawsuits in the late twentieth century that changed their countries in ways from which there will be no return. One took place in the Philippines, emerging from the reign of Fernando Marcos, and the other in Russia, following a near century of communist rule. They have two things in common. They declared the rights of their citizens to challenge, and reverse, government decisions. And they were about the environment, more particularly, trees. What we learn is that notions of environmental protection, citizen enforcement and judicial review have traveled the world and that, in differing legal systems, at times against great odds, through a few remarkable lawyers, have produced astonishing results.


Administrative Law | Comparative and Foreign Law | Constitutional Law | Environmental Law | International Law

Date of this Version

August 2006