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Factors determining the viability of rights claims in climate change litigation

Varvastian, Samvel 2022. Factors determining the viability of rights claims in climate change litigation. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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From the ground-breaking Inuit petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights challenging the United States national climate policy in 2005, to the historic high-profile court wins in rights-based climate change cases against the governments of the Netherlands and Pakistan in 2015, and to the spread of such cases across dozens of jurisdictions by the 2020s, rights claims in climate change litigation have become a truly global phenomenon. However, although climate change litigation has attracted considerable attention in legal scholarship, there is a very limited understanding of what makes rights claims in climate change cases successful or unsuccessful. It is precisely this gap in the literature that this thesis aims to fill. By conducting a systematic and in-depth analysis of relevant cases litigated in more than a dozen jurisdictions, this thesis identifies three common factors that determine the viability of rights claims in climate change cases: the types of claims, the invoked rights, and the litigation forum. The analysis reveals three general scenarios for the viability of rights claims in climate change cases: a) litigation in Europe, dominated by challenges to unambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets that allegedly violate the rights to life and to respect for private and family life under the European Convention on Human Rights, with courts using different approaches to such claims; b) litigation in North America, dominated by sweeping challenges to inadequate climate policy that allegedly violates the constitutional right to life, and where courts are extremely cautious towards such claims; and c) cases in the Global South, with no single dominating type of claims, yet all brought under the right to a healthy environment, and where courts have been generous in terms of their interpretation of this right. The thesis concludes that the above-mentioned rights can be successfully invoked in various types of claims, even though not all litigation forums are equally favourable to such claims.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Law
Subjects: K Law > KZ Law of Nations
Uncontrolled Keywords: Climate change, human rights, court, litigation, justice
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 December 2022
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2022 15:54

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