By the Environmental Management Act, 1995 ("EM Act, 1995") the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago sought to create a legal framework for ensuring sustainable development, being the balance of economic growth with environmentally sound practices. The Environmental Management Act, 1995 was an umbrella piece of legislation incorporating important environmental policy statements of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago; a blueprint for the further development of environmental policy and legislation; and a monitoring and enforcement mechanism. One key component of this system was the Environmental Management Authority, an independent administrative body tasked with co-ordinating, facilitating and overseeing execution of the national environmental strategy and programmes, promoting public awareness of environmental concerns, and establishing an effective regulatory regime to protect, enhance and conserve the environment. The key institutional component sought to be established by the EM Act, 1995 was the Enironmental Commission, a superior court of record, in order to provide an avenue through which the decisions and actions of the EMA can be enforced or for an aggrieved person to challenge the decisions and actions of the EMA.
The EM Act, 1995 was repealed and replaced by the Environmental Management Act, 2000 ("EM Act, 2000") which was enacted by a two-thirds majority of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, thereby addressing any constitutional considerations with respect to the creation of the Environmental Commission.