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Representation of future generations through international climate litigation: a normative framework


Lawrence, P and Kohler, L, Representation of future generations through international climate litigation: a normative framework, German Yearbook of International Law, 60 pp. 639-666. ISSN 0344-3094 (2018) [Refereed Article]

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International climate litigation is an important supplement to the global United Nations negotiating process. Establishing a normative basis for such litigation is important in terms of its legitimacy. Rehfeld’s concept of representation is used in this article to argue that it is coherent to talk about representation of future generations in relation to climate change-related claims brought by States on behalf of their citizens and future generations before international tribunals. The article argues that international law ought to promote justice (following Buchanan and Ratner) – but extended to include intergenerational justice defined as an obligation on current generations to ensure subsistence enjoyment of core human rights by future generations. It is further argued that international tribunals ought to represent future generations as a vehicle for promoting intergenerational justice, given the massive bias against future generations in current law-making and institutions. How this would translate into a concrete case is illustrated by discussion of a potential advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice. The normative framework is utilised to illustrate how the Court should 1) interpret some selected general principles of international environmental law in relation to the Paris Climate Agreement and 2) take a liberal interpretation of its procedural rules to allow amicus curiae briefs by international organisations purporting to represent or highlight the interests of future generations in the climate context.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Environmental and resources law
Research Field:Environmental law
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Environmental policy, legislation and standards
Objective Field:Environmental policy, legislation and standards not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Lawrence, P (Dr Peter Lawrence)
ID Code:128509
Year Published:2018
Deposited By:Law
Deposited On:2018-09-26
Last Modified:2019-05-01
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