The character of the legal and judicial systems in Latin America and the Caribbean is undergoing fundamental change.' Traditionally weak judiciaries are emboldened, precedent as a jurisprudential decision-making tool has become increasingly important, the apparatus of administrative law has become more sophisticated and complex, and increasingly sophisticated reporting systems and the "globalization" of shared jurisprudence through contemporary communication media have all contributed to the development of law in the region. These broader systemic developments, though uneven and incomplete, have occurred in tandem with the emergence of environmental law as a unique and discrete body of law.
This Article traces several of the more interesting jurisprudential developments that have resulted from, or that have benefited, environmental law in the region and the knowledge sharing mechanisms that have contributed to the emergence of a shared hemispheric environmental jurisprudence.' This shared jurisprudence represents a "new environmental law" (derecho ambiento) that is not solely rooted in the civil or common law, but represents instead, a "legal creole" that relies on both traditions and requires the skills of each.
Thomas T. Ankersen, Shared Knowledge, Shared Jurisprudence: Learning to Speak Environmental Law Creole (Criollo), 16 Tul. Envtl. L.J. 807 (2003), available at http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/facultypub/276