A Dutch court’s landmark decision to uphold a class action demanding a faster government response to climate change could set a precedent for a similar case in Canada, says veteran environmental lawyer David Estrin.
“I have some considerable optimism that the same facts presented in a Canadian court have a very reasonable potential of attracting the sympathy of a court and possibly even a remedy,” said Estrin, a founder of the Canadian Environmental Law Association and one of the country’s first environmental lawyers in private practice.
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“A Canadian court, like a Dutch court, couldn’t find better experts, more credible experts, than an IPCC,” he added, noting that the case in The Netherlands relied heavily on findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“The science is of international value, so it would also apply in any case outside of The Netherlands,” said Roger Cox, the partner with Paulussen Advocaten who won the original lawsuit. “”The criteria that define the duty of care in a given situation are more or less the same in any jurisdiction, so these criteria would probably also apply in Canada.”
The Dutch case has attracted the interest of non-profits, legal scholars, and universities, and Cox told The Tyee he’s involved with initiatives in Australia, France, Ireland, Italy, and the UK.
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