Justice Dr. Dr.h.c. mult. Antonio Herman Benjamin, National High Court of Brazil (STJ)
Professor Dr. Antonio Herman Benjamin has served as Justice of the National High Court of Brazil (STJ) since 2006 when he was appointed by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Professor Benjamin previously served as a career Assistant Attorney General of the State of São Paulo for over twenty years, during which time he headed the Environmental Protection Division and the Consumer Protection Division. Professor Benjamin was the founding President of both the Brazilian Consumer Law and Policy Institute (Brasilcon) and Law for a Green Planet Institute (Instituto O Direito por um Planeta Verde). He is a former President of the Brazilian Fulbright Alumni Association, a Member of the United Nations Secretary General Legal Expert Group on Crimes against the Environment, and for a decade a Councilor of the Brazilian Environmental Council (CONAMA), first appointed by president Fernando Henrique Cardoso and later re-appointed by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Professor Benjamin also serves as the President of the Brazilian Environmental Forum of Judges (FONAMA). In 2014, he was appointed a Justice of the National Electoral Tribunal (TSE). Professor Benjamin previously served as the the Dean of the National Judicial School of Brazil (ENFAM), where he is currently the Director of its LL.M (Master of Laws) Program on Justice, the first of its kind among judicial academies in the world. While Dean of ENFAM, Professor Benjamin also implemented globally innovative regulations for affirmative action for African-Brazilian and indigenous faculty and students.
Justice Benjamin was a professor at the Catholic University of Brasília School of Law and for 17 years a Visiting Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He has been a Visiting Lecturer at prestigious academic institutions around the world. He received his LL.B. from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, his LL.M. from the University of Illinois and his PhD from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. His main areas of expertise and academic work are Environmental Law, Consumer Law, Cultural Heritage Law, and Human Rights Law. He is the founder and emeritus Editor-in-Chief of the Brazilian Consumer Law Review and the Brazilian Environmental Law Review, both published by Thomson Reuters. He has co-drafted several major Brazilian statutes, including the 1990 Consumer Protection Code, the 1992 Anti-Corruption Act, the 1994 Competition Act, the 1998 Crimes Against the Environment Act, the 2006 Forest Concession Act, the 2006 Atlantic Forest Act, and the 2012 Forest Code. Professor Benjamin has authored, co-authored and edited over thirty books and articles in Brazil and abroad.
At the international level, Professor Benjamin served as Co-Chair of the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) and President of the Environmental Committee of the Summit of Chief Justices of Ibero-America. Currently. He is Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL) and Secretary- General of the International Advisory Council for Environmental Justice for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). He is the lead founder of the Global Judicial Institute on the Environment (GJIE), the organization that brings together Supreme Court Justices and Judges from around the world who work on emerging issues in environmental law. During the 2012 Rio+20 Conference, he was the coordinator of the UNEP World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability.
Justice Benjamin has received several awards, honours and other recognitions in Brazil and abroad. He is a Knight (Chevalier) of the National Order of the Legion of Honour (Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur) of France and a Commander (Commandeur) of the Order of King Leopold of Belgium. He is the recipient of the 2015 Elizabeth Haub Prize for Environmental Law, awarded by Stockholm University and considered the most prestigious international distinction conferred upon an environmental legal expert. He is a Goodwill Ambassador for Environmental Justice of the Organization of American States (OAS). In 2020, Brazilian scientists named after him a newly discovered species of orchid from the Amazon Rain Forest – Bulbophyllum antoniobenjaminii.