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Avenues for private climate change litigation: the advancement of a South African constitutional rights approach

Rebelo, P. and Rebelo, X. (2020). Avenues for private climate change litigation: the advancement of a South African constitutional rights approach (City Law School Research Paper 2020/13). London, UK: City, University of London.

Abstract

A second wave of climate litigation targeting private defendants has gained momentum due to advances in attribution science and the legal discourse surrounding the responsibility of ‘carbon majors’ who knowingly pollute. At the same time, rights-based arguments are seeing increasing success in public litigation targeting governments who fail to take appropriate action to prevent climate change. This Paper explores the potential for rights-based arguments in the private context, specifically on the African continent. It argues that the horizontal application of an environmental right, both directly and indirectly, enjoys firm judicial recognition in certain African jurisdictions. As a result, Africa is ripe for substantive engagement with environmental rights and their application to private entities despite having few cases of climate litigation. More narrowly, this Paper investigates the constitutional milieu of the South African right to a healthy environment and argues for a substantive engagement with the transformative nature of such a right as opposed to relying solely on procedural approaches to obtaining environmental justice.

Publication Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Additional Information: © 2020, the authors.
Publisher Keywords: Climate; Litigation; South Africa; Rights-based; Environmental
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
K Law
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2020 13:22
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/25139
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