Call for Papers: Amsterdam Conference “Private Rights of Nature”

The Amsterdam Centre for Transformative Private Law (ACT) of the University of Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, hosts a conference on 4-5 June 2020 entitled “Private Rights of Nature”. ACT is delighted to invite scholars and practitioners with all levels of experience to submit an abstract engaging with the theme private rights of nature, as elaborated on below. Travel and accommodation costs of speakers selected will be (partly) reimbursed. If need be due to Covid-19, the conference will take place digitally rather than physically.

Conference description

The traditional civil codes distinguish between the law of persons and the law of things. This demarcation is however under pressure owing to the emerging transnational movement called rights of nature or earth jurisprudence. Around the world, natural entities that long would have been regarded as things – animals, but also rivers, for example, and mountains, forests, even Mother Earth herself – are recognised as persons before the law. This means they are endowed with rights and that they get standing to defend their intrinsic interest before courts.

Legal and theoretical scholarship on this issue is growing, however not yet in the field of (European) private law. At the same time, it is often civil codes that determine which entities have legal personality. Furthermore, rights of nature are likely to affect private property rights and businesses. When nature attains rights, she is likely to invoke them against both public and private legal persons, using strategies similar to those adopted by these more traditional legal persons. Thus, earth jurisprudence not only impacts private legal relationships, it also benefits from insights gained in the field of private law.

Key information

Please e-mail your abstract of up to 500 words including footnotes and a small bio to before the 31st of March 2020. For all information, including key dates, confirmed speakers and a provisionary program, see the ACT website.

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