Research Handbook on Human Rights and the Environment
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Research Handbook on Human Rights and the Environment

Edited by Anna Grear and Louis J. Kotzé

Bringing together leading international scholars in the field, this Research Handbook interrogates, from various angles and positions, the fractious relationship between human rights and the environment and between human rights and environmental law. The Handbook provides researchers and students with a fertile source of reflection and engagement with this most important of contemporary legal relationships. Law’s complex role in the mediation of the relationship between humanity and the living order is richly reflected in this timely and authoritative collection.
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Chapter 6: The closures of legal subjectivity: why examining ‘law’s person’ is critical to an understanding of injustice in an age of climate crisis

Anna Grear


This Chapter suggests that sustained reflection on the patterns and history of climate injustice reveal that the role, function and constitution of legal subjectivity is fundamental to the genesis of the climate crisis: that legal subjectivity operationalizes an assumed order of priority (a socio-juridical hierarchy) between human beings, between human beings and non-human animals, between human beings and the ecosystems – and so forth. The Chapter explores the idea that the climate crisis itself is as much a crisis of human hierarchy mediated by the dominant legal order, as it is a crisis in the ‘natural order’ brought about by anthropogenic human activities.

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