Month: March 2024

Climate Change Litigation and International Courts: Navigating Challenges and Imperatives

By Engin Firat

Recent years have seen rapid and widespread climate changes, driven by human activities, notably greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), as highlighted in the latest findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). With temperatures already surpassing 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels and projections indicating a looming 1.5°C increase, urgent action is imperative to mitigate emissions and adapt to inevitable changes. Despite the severity of this environmental threat, political efforts to tackle GHGs remain insufficient. Litigation has emerged as a notable strategy in recent endeavours to address the climate crisis, underscoring the need for more robust action.

Given the gravity of these sobering realities, the recent event organised by International Law and Affairs Group (ILAG) and the City Sustainability Society, ‘Climate Change Litigation and International Courts’, held on March 14, 2024, and hosted by the City Law School, assumed a heightened significance. Chaired by Dr Jed Odermatt, Reader at the City Law School, the event brought together legal experts from legal practice and academia, including Mr Paul Clark, Barrister at Garden Court Chambers, Ms Monica Feria-Tinta, Barrister at Twenty Essex, and Dr Yusra Suedi, Lecturer at the University of Manchester. Their aim was to scrutinise the role played by international courts in tackling climate change, thereby providing invaluable insights into the nexus of international law, domestic law, policy, and climate urgency.

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Not What the Bus Promised: Health Governance after Brexit

The Institute for the Study of European Laws hosted a book launch for Hervey, Antova, Flear and Wood’s Not What the Bus Promised: Health Governance after Brexit, on 21 February 2024. People joined in person and online, from several countries, and including representatives from the third sector and private sector. The launch was chaired by Adrienne Yong, and speakers were co-authors Tamara Hervey and Mark Flear, with Charlotte Godziewski and Francesca Strumia as discussants.

The book is an output from several overlapping projects, especially an ESRC Governance after Brexit grant, led by Tamara Hervey, who is now Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law at City, University of London. Mark Flear and Matthew Wood were co-investigators on the project; Ivanka Antova was the project’s post-doctoral research fellow. Charlotte Godzieski commented favourably on the scope, scale and amount of data reported on in the book, the levels and layers of the book, and the interdisciplinary approach. Despite all this complexity, she found the book very approachable, and remarkably easy to follow, even for non-experts.

The book’s core research questions include the following: The Leave Campaign’s implicit promise included that Brexit would involve improvements to the NHS. To what extent is this the case? To the extent that this is not the case, who should be held accountable, and how? What would make for a legitimate post-Brexit health governance?

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Kylian Mbappé has trademarked his iconic goal celebration – why a pose can form part of a player’s protected brand

By Dr Enrico Bonadio and Dr Andrea Zappalaglio

French football superstar Kylian Mbappé celebrates most of his goals by crossing his arms and tucking his hands underneath his armpits. It has become one of the most iconic goal celebrations in the world.

Mbappé, who is due to move to Spanish giants Real Madrid at the end of this season, has already taken steps to register a logo depicting his celebration as a trademark in several countries, as well as in the European Union. He has done the same for his surnameinitials and most famous quotes.

The black-and-white logo depicts a smiling Mbappé, celebrating in his usual fashion.

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A Political Question Doctrine at the International Court of Justice?

By Dr Jed Odermatt and Dr Bilyana Petkova

At the end of January 2024, the US District Court in Northern California applied the political question doctrine to dismiss a suit brought against the US President and the Secretary of Defense based on alleged violations of international law. The Plaintiffs, a group of Palestinian human rights organizations and activists including Defense for Children International-Palestine and Al-Haq, alleged that the US government breached its duty to prevent genocide “by providing diplomatic, financial, and military support to Israel, are complicit in Israel’s purported commission of genocide, in violation of Article III(e) [of the Genocide Convention] and its implementing legislation, which makes genocide a federal crime”. The Plaintiffs sought an injunction enjoining the provision of any further military or financial support or any form of assistance to Israel by the United States. The District Court went on to extensively cite the recent order on provisional measures of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip (South Africa v. Israel). However, the Court found that the case was inadmissible, as “any determination to challenge the decision of the executive branch of government on support of Israel is fraught with serious political questions”.

The political question doctrine is a controversial legal mechanism for docket management in the toolbox of the US Supreme Court and – more recently – lower US courts. According to the broader, “functional” view of the doctrine, courts should abstain from deciding on a question that is likely to be better decided by the executive or legislative branch or that the courts abstain from deciding when they lack sufficient expertise and information to make a reasoned legal judgment. According to the “prudential” rationale, the Court should apply the doctrine to promote its reputation and legitimacy by avoiding questions that are essentially non-legal in nature.

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