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Empowerment, Fairness, Integration: South African Answers to the Question of Constitutional Environmental Rights

68 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2013 Last revised: 17 Jan 2014

Eric C. Christiansen

Golden Gate University School of Law; University of Valencia (Spain)

Date Written: January 1, 2013

Abstract

There are numerous and specific reasons why South Africa is distinctively positioned to advance and influence the use of constitutional rights to protect the environment. As a result of its unique history and constitutional structure, the South African Constitutional Court possesses special capacities to address domestic environmental concerns and impact comparative law discourse regarding constitutional environmental rights. The judiciary has already demonstrated successful, albeit modest, domestic adjudication through its early environmental jurisprudence and it exhibits the potential for even more significant outcomes in the future. Moreover, the Court holds a highly influential position in the field of comparative constitutional law because of its expansive rights protections, permissive jurisdictional rules, hard-wired consideration of foreign and international law, and its unrivaled reputation among academics and jurists. Altogether, this highly influential court is structurally and politically capable of supporting a significant evolution in the field of constitutional environmental rights.

Keywords: environmental rights, South Africa, constitutional court, environmental law, constitutional environmental rights

Suggested Citation

Christiansen, Eric C., Empowerment, Fairness, Integration: South African Answers to the Question of Constitutional Environmental Rights (January 1, 2013). Stanford Environmental Law Journal, Vol. 32, No. 215, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2359514 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2359514

Eric Christiansen (Contact Author)

Golden Gate University School of Law ( email )

536 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States
(415)369-5338 (Phone)
(415)442-6609 (Fax)

University of Valencia (Spain) ( email )

Tarongers, Valencia
Spain

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