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Case-law on the rights of future generations

Case-law on the rights of future generations

Please see our collection of legal case-studies in the Publications section.


We have started to build a collection of legal case-studies in our Publications section. Our aim is to build an international database of legal cases that reference the rights of future generations and which therefore can be of greatest relevance for those institutions and individuals that work in the practice of promoting the interests of future generations through strategic litigation or policy making.

We are currently working on the analysis of several cases, check regularly our growing collection, and we would also warmly welcome your participation and input! If you are aware of a case that would fit here, please do not hesitate to let us know at  


The ones already published are the following:

  1. The Urgenda Foundation v the State of the Netherlands case from 2015, in which The Hague District Court found that the Dutch government’s efforts to reduce the country’s greenhouse emissions were inadequate and ordered the government to reduce the GHG emission by at least 25% compared to 1990 levels. Legal analysis is posted by the courtesy of the Center for International Governance Innovation.
  2. The UK case of ClientEarth v Secretary of State for the Environment and Rural Affairs, in which landmark case the UK Supreme Court ruled in April 2015 in favour of ClientEarth in its case against the UK Government for failing to achieve minimum air quality standards. Legal analysis is posted by the courtesy of ClientEarth.
  3. The Swedish Magnolia case (Youth NGOs and Individuals v. the Government of Sweden) from October 2016, motion denied in 2018, in which youth sue the Government of Sweden regarding the sale of its lignite assets being concerned about potential increased GHG emission in the future.
  4. The order handed down in November 2016 by a U.S. District Court judge in Oregon in the case of 21 youth v. the United States. A group of minors, acting as representatives of future generations launched a lawsuit against the U.S. federal government due to the insufficiency of its climate measures. The order granted standing to the plaintiffs because their rights are at stake and allowed the claim to proceed to trial.


The Hague Conference

Helsinki Conference

Cardiff Conference

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