Centre for European and Comparative Legal Studies (CECS), Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen
Tel.: + 45 42 72 62 91
Starting date: 1 September 2017
Completion date: 31 August 2021
Rights of nature are gaining traction. Several countries have adopted rights of nature laws (at constitutional, national, and local level) or recognised the rights of nature in court judgments. These laws and legal sources inter alia recognise that nature is a subject of the law, and, in certain cases, grant specific legal rights to nature. Born out of an Earth-centred or ecological paradigm, rights of nature (laws) present a fundamental challenge to the otherwise anthropocentric or human-centric system of law and governance.
Set against these developments, the PhD project studies the relationship(s) between the rights of nature and human rights in jurisdictions that recognise both categories of right-holders. Mindful that most legal and governance systems remain anthropocentric, individualistic and mechanistic in their very structure, the project will investigate what happens at the interface between the old paradigm (most existing individual human rights) and the new, ecological paradigm (the rights of nature). Questions to be explored include> When rights conflict (as they often do), whose rights prevail and under what circumstances? Is there a risk that the prevailing (anthropocentric) legal order will subsume and swallow the ecological one, rendering the rights of nature “mere rhetoric”? If so, what would it take for the ecological paradigm to penetrate the anthropocentric machinery of law?