The Symbolic Value of Leghari v Federation of Pakistan: Climate Change Adjudication in the Global South

Emily Marie Barritt, Boitumelo Sediti

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11 Citations (Scopus)
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Across the globe, citizens and environmental organisations are challenging governments on their failure to respond adequately to climate change. Leghari v Federation of Pakistan is a valuable example in this avalanche of climate change litigation. In a case brought by a drought effected Pakistani agriculturalist, the High Court of Lahore mandated the creation of a Climate Change Commission in order that urgent action be taken to address the impact of climate change in Pakistan. Leghari was the first climate change case from the Global South to attract world-wide scholarly and journalistic attention, emerging as it did at the same time as the far better publicised Urgenda Foundation v The State of Netherlands. The decision of the then Mr Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, now a Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, was a bold example of transformative adjudication in pursuit of climate justice and is emblematic of the ‘rights turn’ in climate change litigation. It is also an important example of climate change adjudication from the Global South, which has not been as well documented as suits originating in the US, Australasia and Europe. Its significance, domestically and internationally, is therefore symbolic as well as practical. In this case note we unpack the decision in Leghari, highlight some of its notable features and to examine its particular importance for potential litigants the Global South.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-210
Number of pages8
JournalKing's Law Journal
Issue number2
Early online date26 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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