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Climate Justice: A Constitutional Approach to Unify the Lex Specialis Principles of International Climate Law

Author:

Teresa Thorp

Abstract

Legal principles legitimise ubiquitous social values. They make certain social norms lawful and legitimate. Legal principles may act as governing vectors. They may give effect to a unified and legitimate constitutional framework insofar as a constitution unifies the fundamental principles on which a state or competent authority is governed.
Concerning international climate law, however, there is a certain shortcoming. The failure to comprehend a unified constitutional framework of lex specialis principles could debilitate intra and inter-regime governance and lead to uncertainties. At one time, uncertainties incite the law-making process. At another time, they constrain it. Such a shortcoming may lead to inconsistencies in interpreting consequential climate norms. It may thwart dispute resolution and it may impede climate negotiations. To traverse this abyss, the inquiry uses instruments of legal philosophy (the philosophy of language), legal systematics (the study of legal systems), and legal hermeneutics (the legal practice of interpretation) to delineate, distinguish and unify lex specialis principles that could form the foundations of a universal constitutional framework of international climate law. In doing so, it shows that climate justice is a function of the quality of the legal system.

DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/ulr.203
How to Cite: Thorp, T., (2012). Climate Justice: A Constitutional Approach to Unify the Lex Specialis Principles of International Climate Law. Utrecht Law Review. 8(3), pp.7–37. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/ulr.203
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Published on 19 Nov 2012.
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