Emerging Best Practices in International Atmospheric Trust Case Law

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Rachel Pemberton, J.D. candidate, Lewis & Clark Law School

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Utah Law Review

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Utah L. Rev.


As climate-change cases proliferate throughout the world, a substantial body of case law is emerging. As a part of a project of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, this paper, which will included a "Judicial Handbook on Climate Litigation," explains the public trust doctrine's influence internationally. We select what we view as judicial "best practices" as a kind of restatement of international public trust law in 2022. International public trust law is emerging as the forefront of public trust law as United States federal courts have fettered its development by erecting procedural hurdles like standing and political question doctrines. International courts don't suffer from these procedural limits, so now they're in the forefront of public trust law, allowing them to reach the merits of public trust claims. This paper explains these developments in an effort to synthesize the developing law.

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Co-author Rachel Pemberton is a student at Lewis & Clark Law School.