Fundamental Rights

Most climate change litigation is at least partially based on fundamental rights.

Those may be rights derived from the national constitution (or even from a sub-state constitution) or a national bill o rights. For example, the German Klimaklage (Neubauer, et al. v. Germany) was mainly based on fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the German constitution, such as the right to life and physical integrity, protection of property and human dignity. The Canadian La Rose case is also partially based on rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Other claims are based on international human rights norms, for example those of the European Convention on Human Rights, the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, or the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.

This is the case, on the one hand, where litigants bring a claim directly with international tribunals such as the European Court of Human Rights. On the other hand, litigants may bring claims in national courts and base them on international human rights norms if their jurisdiction does not have its own code of human rights (such as the United Kingdom), or if the national code of human rights is less extensive than international human rights norms. Yet another possibility is that the national jurisdiction has a code of human rights, but the national courts do not have the competency to adjudicate violations of these fundamental rights. The latter was  the case in the Dutch Urgenda case. While the Netherlands have a code of human rights, Dutch courts do not have the competency to review whether acts of Parliament comply with it, and thus declare such acts of Parliament invalid. However, courts may declare legislation invalid if it violates international law. For this reason, the litigants in Urgenda based their claim on norms of the European Convention of Human Rights, rather than on Dutch human rights norms.

 

All Cases In This Category

Lho’Imggin et al. v. Her Majesty the Queen

Case Name:                Lho’Imggin et al. v. Her Majesty the Queen (also known as Misdzi Yikh v. Her Majesty the Queen) Jurisdiction:              Canada Type of claim:            Challenge of federal government’s insufficient climate policy Summary of result:  ...

ENvironnement JEUnesse (ENJEU) v. Canada

Case name:                      ENvironnement JEUnesse (ENJEU) v. Canada (Attorney General) Jurisdiction:                     Canada (Quebec) Type of claim:                  Challenge of federal government’s insufficient climate policy Summary of result:      ...

La Rose v. Canada

Case name:                     La Rose v. Her Majesty the Queen Jurisdiction:                     Canada Type of claim:                  Challenge of federal government’s insufficient climate policy Summary of result:       Motion to strike dismissed (case allowed to...

German Klimaklage (Neubauer, et al. v. Germany)

Case name:                      German Klimaklage (Neubauer, et al. v. Germany) Jurisdiction:                     Germany Type of claim:                  Claim against federal legislature or government to enact stricter GHG reduction targets / Challenge of specific...

VZW Klimaatzaak v. Kingdom of Belgium, et al.

Case name:                      VZW Klimaatzaak v. Kingdom of Belgium, et al. Jurisdiction:                     Belgium Type of claim:                  Claim against federal legislature or government to enact stricter GHG reduction targets Summary of result:      ...

Sabo and Others v. Parliament and Council (EU Biomass Plaintiffs v. European Union)

Case name:                  Sabo and Others v. Parliament and Council                                         also known as: EU Biomass Plaintiffs v. European Union Jurisdiction:                 European Union Type of claim:             Cases against specific...