Of Harm, Culprits and Rectification: Obtaining Corrective Justice for Climate Change Displacement

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In light of the accelerating nature of climate change and its effect, it is unsurprising that various entities increasingly resort to courts and tribunals to seek to address the many harms and wrongs that clearly stem from climate change. This article discusses the opportunities in this context for those who face displacement by the effects of climate change, an issue that is not necessarily at the heart of either climate justice debates or climate displacement debates. Discussions about how to respond to displacement arising in the context of climate change often focus on the ‘protection space’ or ‘assistance space’, in which those affected are conceptualized as actual or potential seekers of protection or assistance, who may or may not be owed refuge elsewhere on account of unmet needs for shelter, support or safety. This article takes a different approach and conceptualizes those affected as potential or actual seekers of justice, who may be owed rectification for inflicted harm. The article thus contributes to emerging scholarship concerning climate change litigation and climate harm reversal, by focusing on the corrective justice potential for those who face the specific issue of displacement stemming from climate change. To this end, the article provides the relevant practical and analytical background, and discusses key recent law and policy developments in both the domestic and cross-border spheres. The article considers not merely the nexus between displacement stemming from climate change and considerations of justice, but also how and where justice in this context is or may be sought.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-33
Number of pages21
JournalTransnational Environmental Law
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


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