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This chapter has a conceptual and methodological orientation and engages with the question of the criteria that should be used to identify a case as climate litigation, or as climate relevant. It assumes that Africans need a climate litigation definition that will enable African actors to cognize, target and transform the governance institutions most critical to responding to the multi-faceted, severe and already manifesting climate change impacts on the continent. It argues that the visibility approach to identifying climate cases in mainstream climate litigation scholarship obscures cases that exhibit the tools governments are already using (or not using) to alleviate the impacts of climate change. The chapter proposes an alternative approach where climate risk features as the central criterion for case law selection. In developing a risk-thematic approach to identifying climate relevant case law, the chapter reviews recent scientific findings on Africa’s key risks to identify a set of keywords that could serve as climate risk criteria. By using these keywords to search an open access database of legal materials from southern Africa, the chapter demonstrates the extent of cases that could constitute the archive of African climate jurisprudence and commentary. Finally, the chapter illustrates the value of a risk-thematic approach to identifying climate-relevant cases by describing three drought litigation cases from South Africa, which brings the importance of governance tools relating to water restrictions and drought relief to the fore.

Open access

As the study of climate change litigation continues to emerge as a scholarly field, the conversation about the characteristics of litigation in Global South countries is still nascent. The meaning and identity of climate litigation, and the scholarly response to it, are mostly shaped around the priorities and pressures of Global North countries. But why does pursuing, and asserting, an African identity of climate litigation matter? The answer to this question lies in an understanding of what it means to pursue a ‘global’ endeavour, but also in an understanding of the dignity of African scholars, practitioners and activists in the face of the climate crisis.

This book spans a range of approaches and jurisdictions and aims to make a relevant yet lasting volume of reflective contributions both in relation to transnational, regional and local climate litigation scholarship, but also to our understanding of the plural nature of climate justice and climate governance. This chapter introduces the authors and the main themes of the book.

Open access

EPDF and EPUB available Open Access under CC-BY-NC-ND licence.

In recent years, climate litigation has become an important subject of global scholarly and policy interest. However, developments within the Global South, particularly in Africa, have been largely neglected.

This volume brings together an international team of contributors to provide a much-needed examination of climate litigation in Africa. The book outlines how climate litigation in Africa is distinct as well as pinpointing where it connects with the global conversation. Chapters engage with crucial themes such as human rights approaches to climate governance, corporate liability and the role of gender in climate litigation.

Spanning a range of approaches and jurisdictions, the book challenges universal concepts around climate and the role of activism (including litigation) in seeking to advance climate governance.

Open access

As the study of climate change litigation continues to emerge as a scholarly field, the conversation about the characteristics of litigation in Global South countries is still nascent. The meaning and identity of climate litigation, and the scholarly response to it, are mostly shaped around the priorities and pressures of Global North countries. But why does pursuing, and asserting, an African identity of climate litigation matter? The answer to this question lies in an understanding of what it means to pursue a ‘global’ endeavour, but also in an understanding of the dignity of African scholars, practitioners and activists in the face of the climate crisis.

This volume is a collection of scholarly reflections on the theme of climate litigation in Africa. The book spans a range of approaches and jurisdictions and aims to make a relevant yet lasting volume of reflective contributions both in relation to transnational, regional and local climate litigation scholarship, but also to our understanding of the plural nature of climate justice and climate governance.

Open access

As the study of climate change litigation continues to emerge as a scholarly field, the conversation about the characteristics of litigation in Global South countries is still nascent. The meaning and identity of climate litigation, and the scholarly response to it, are mostly shaped around the priorities and pressures of Global North countries. But why does pursuing, and asserting, an African identity of climate litigation matter? The answer to this question lies in an understanding of what it means to pursue a ‘global’ endeavour, but also in an understanding of the dignity of African scholars, practitioners and activists in the face of the climate crisis.

This volume is a collection of scholarly reflections on the theme of climate litigation in Africa. The book spans a range of approaches and jurisdictions and aims to make a relevant yet lasting volume of reflective contributions both in relation to transnational, regional and local climate litigation scholarship, but also to our understanding of the plural nature of climate justice and climate governance.

Open access

As the study of climate change litigation continues to emerge as a scholarly field, the conversation about the characteristics of litigation in Global South countries is still nascent. The meaning and identity of climate litigation, and the scholarly response to it, are mostly shaped around the priorities and pressures of Global North countries. But why does pursuing, and asserting, an African identity of climate litigation matter? The answer to this question lies in an understanding of what it means to pursue a ‘global’ endeavour, but also in an understanding of the dignity of African scholars, practitioners and activists in the face of the climate crisis.

This volume is a collection of scholarly reflections on the theme of climate litigation in Africa. The book spans a range of approaches and jurisdictions and aims to make a relevant yet lasting volume of reflective contributions both in relation to transnational, regional and local climate litigation scholarship, but also to our understanding of the plural nature of climate justice and climate governance.

Open access