Legal Rights of Territory and Geographical Features

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Recognition in national, provincial, or municipal law of personhood for specific rivers, lakes, forests, and other landscapes. That sui generis personhood is distinct from protection of the built and natural environments under heritage or other law that does not endow a specific domain with a legal personality.

Legal personhood creates enforceable rights, powers, duties, and obligations. It is a status that contemporary (western) law assigns to human animals, corporations, and polities such as nations and provinces (Radin 1982; Tur 1987; Naffine 2003). Personhood is a building block of both domestic and international law (Wendt 2005; Robb 2019). It is determinative in questions of sovereignty and rule-making regarding territories and unowned global spaces such as oceans outside territorial waters.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Encyclopedia of Territorial Rights
EditorsKevin W Gray , Costas Laoutides, Laura Lo Coco, Lavonna L. Lovern, Nick C. Sagos, Katrinka Somdahl-Sands
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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