The Public Trust Doctrine, Environmental Human Rights, and the Future of Private Property

New York University Environmental Law Journal, Vol. 16, p. 711, 2008

55 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2010  

David Takacs

University of California Hastings College of the Law

Date Written: June 28, 2008

Abstract

A dynamic tension has long existed between those who would circumscribe the Earth's bounty for private use and those who would carefully allot and safeguard Earth's riches to satisfy human needs. The 1500-year old Public Trust Doctrine, and the much more recent movement to protect Environmental Human Rights, both express in law a belief that some resources should never be sequestered for private use, must be left for the public’s enjoyment, and must be stewarded by those in power. This paper explores the differences and synergies between the Public Trust Doctrine and Environmental Human rights, and explores how these doctrines constrain what counts as “private,” “property,” and “ownership,” with extensive analysis from the doctrines' uses in India, South Africa, California, and Pennsylvania.

Keywords: Public Trust Doctrine, Environmental Law, Human Rights, Property Rights, Property Law, International Law, India, South Africa, California, Pennsylvania

JEL Classification: K32

Suggested Citation

Takacs, David, The Public Trust Doctrine, Environmental Human Rights, and the Future of Private Property (June 28, 2008). New York University Environmental Law Journal, Vol. 16, p. 711, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1654629

David Takacs (Contact Author)

University of California Hastings College of the Law ( email )

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