Thirty years after the Hamburg seals case, autonomous rights for nature are no longer a merely utopian idea, but a social reality – and, in view of urgent ecological questions, a necessity. By expanding the stakeholder status in politics and law, ecosystems and animals are being empowered de lege lata to enforce their rights as non-human legal persons in the courts. I will first trace current trends in the juridical personification of non-human persons. I will then explore the potential for opening the concept of legal personhood to non-human legal persons from a theoretical perspective – considering the limitations of this approach as well. Finally, I will sketch out the current framework for legal action brought by non-human persons in German, European, and international law.
Andreas Fischer-Lescano, Nature as a Legal Person: Proxy Constellations in Law, Law and Literature. Published online: 1 Jun 2020. https://doi.org/10.1080/1535685X.2020.1763596.