Page content

We are pleased to share the video of the public lecture Climate Change, the Courts and the Rights of Children & Future Generations by Prof Aoife Nolan, Visiting Professor with the Schools of Law and Applied Social and Policy Sciences (ASPS).

In this Ulster University Public Lecture, Prof Aoife Nolan discusses the role of courts in considering the rights of children and future generations in the context of the urgent global challenge presented by climate change. Children and future generations will bear the burden of environmental decisions made today. However, these non-voting groups cannot input effectively into decision-making around the environment.

This lecture analyses the role that courts should adopt with regard to enforcing the constitutional rights of children and future generations in environmental protection cases. Responding to this ever-more prominent theme in child and youth-focused and driven environmental advocacy and litigation, the lecture focuses on how these groups' position ‘outside democracy’ can and should shape the courts' role when deciding whether to impose constitutional constraints on democratic decision-making in the environmental protection context.

Aoife Nolan is Professor of International Human Rights Law and Co-Director of the Human Rights Law Centre at the University of Nottingham and Visiting Professor at Ulster University. Professor Nolan’s professional experience in human rights and constitutional law straddles the legal, policy, practitioner and academic fields. She is Vice-President of the Council of Europe's European Committee of Social Rights, which she joined in 2017. She has published extensively in the areas of human rights and constitutional law, particularly in relation to children's rights and economic and social rights. She currently leads a major three-year international research project on ‘Advancing Child Rights Strategic Litigation’.

Professor Nolan has acted as an expert advisor to a wide range of international and national organisations and bodies working on human rights issues, including numerous UN Special Procedures, UN treaty bodies, the Council of Europe, multiple NHRIs and NGOs. She has held visiting positions at academic institutions in Europe, Africa, the US and Australia. She is an Academic Expert member at Doughty Street Chambers where she co-leads the Children’s Rights Group. Her recent work has focused on climate justice and the rights of children and future generations. In January 2021, she was invited to join the advisory board to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on its forthcoming General Comment No.26 on children’s rights and the environment with a special focus on climate change.

This lecture was hosted by the School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences, School of Law and Transitional Justice Institute. Prof Siobhán Wills (TJI Director) chaired the event.