Safeguarding the Global Commons: The Legal Status and Scope of the Concept of Actio Popularis in International Environmental Law

Auteur Luan Tamara Elizabeth HARFORD
Directeur /trice Makane Moïse Mbengue
Co-directeur(s) /trice(s)
Résumé de la thèse

Every State is said to have a common interest in and legal right to the protection of the natural resources of the global commons. This includes the high seas, the airspace above it, the area of the seabed, the ocean floor and subsoil thereof, the atmosphere, outer space and certain parts of Antarctica.


While States recognise the need to protect the commons from environmental damage, most treaties lack jurisdictional clauses conferring a right to bring a claim to vindicate public interests and an international liability regime for damage caused to these areas per se as a result of activities within a State’s jurisdiction or control. This can be explained by the traditional conception that obligations are bilateral in nature and not owed to the international community as a whole, and that only individual States can bring an action on their own behalf where that State or its citizens, or persons under its jurisdiction has suffered special injury or prejudice to their personal rights or interests. However, with the growing recognition of collective or general obligations owed to the international community as a whole, there is a need to re-conceptualise the traditional scope of locus standi before international court and tribunals.


This research will examine the legality of actio popularis claims before international courts and tribunals, so as to enforce international legal obligations owed by all States to avoid environmental damage to the global commons, and therefore tackle the inadequacies of State liability for causing environmental damage to the global commons, as a result of activities within a State’s jurisdiction or control. It will also explore the relativity of protecting collective interests and the protection of individual rights.


Finally, it will develop a theoretical framework for State liability in hopes of addressing the general inertia of the international community in developing international laws regarding liability for environmental damage to the global commons.

Statut au début
Délai administratif de soutenance de thèse 2024
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/luan-harford-752491174/