What scholars referred to as a climate change litigation ‘explosion’ in 2015 has today become an established movement which is unlikely to stop in the near future: worldwide, over a thousand lawsuits have been launched regarding responsibility for the dangers of climate change. Since the beginning of this trend in transnational climate litigation scholars have warned that the separation of powers is threatened where judges interfere with the politically hot issue of climate change. This article uses Jürgen Habermas’s political theory on deliberative democracy to reconstruct the tension between law and politics generated by these lawsuits. This reconstruction affords a better understanding of the implications of climate change litigation: while the role of the judiciary as such remains unchanged, the trend is likely to influence the democratic legitimacy of judicial lawmaking on climate change, as it indicates an increasing realization that a sound environment is a constitutional value and is therefore a prerequisite for democracy.
Laura Burgers, Should Judges Make Climate Change Law?, Transnational Environmental Law. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S2047102519000360. Published online by Cambridge University Press: 15 January 2020.