[GRRN] Fw: A Victory for future generations

Bill Sheehan (zerowaste@grrn.org)
Sat, 17 Apr 1999 14:51:37 -0400

STANDING TO SUE IN THE PHILIPPINES: A Victory for Future Generations

In a decision that may eventually change the way the world views
environmental issues, the Supreme Court of the Philippines has
ruled that the three children of E-LAW Philippines Board Member Antonio
Oposa, along with 41 other children, have standing to sue on behalf of
their generation and subsequent generations. Oposa is an attorney with
the Philippines Ecological Network and is representing the children in
trying to cancel all existing timber license agreements between timber
interests and the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural
Resources. The E-LAW network provided supporting materials that Oposa
used in making his case to the Philippine courts. E-LAW U.S.
congratulates Tony on his path-breaking and salutes his courage in
filing the suit.

The July 30 decision held that minors have standing to represent their
own and future generations under the doctrine of
intergenerational equity. The Court stated that: "This case...has a
special and novel element. Petitioners' minors assert that they
represent their generation as well as generations yet unborn. We find no
difficulty in ruling that they can, for themselves, for others
of their generation and for the succeeding generations, file a class


According to E-LAW U.S. Board President Michael Axline, a professor at
the University of Oregon School of Law, the opinion will have
far-reaching consequences. "This opinion for the first time recognizes
the interconnectedness of the present and the future in legal terms,"
Axline said. "Courts in the United States should study the opinion
closely, not only because it is well reasoned, but also because it
demonstrates a wisdom to which all judges should aspire."