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


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Lawrence, P ORCID: 0000-0003-3407-3446 and Kohler, L 2017 , 'Representation of future generations through international climate litigation: a normative framework' , German Yearbook of International Law, vol. 60 , pp. 639-666 .

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

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Lawrence, P and Kohler, L
Journal or Publication Title: German Yearbook of International Law
Publisher: Duncker & Humblot
ISSN: 0344-3094
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Copyright 2017 German Yearbook of International Law

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