2017 Summit: According Nature Itself Rights

Friday, March 10, 4:10pm, Weinmann Hall, Room TBD

Is nature the property of humans, or is nature its own legal entity?  In 2008 Ecuador gave ecosystems constitutional rights and in 2012 New Zealand gave the Whanganui River legal personality. While critics contend that these rights cannot be enforced, this movement is gaining support on both the national and international stage. Experts from the United States and abroad will discuss the movement towards nature being afforded legal rights, and the future of this concept.


Mari Margill, Associate Director, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

Mari Margil is the Associate Director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), http://www.celdf.org, where she leads the organization’s International Center for the Rights of Nature. Margil assisted Ecuador’s Constituent Assembly to draft Rights of Nature constitutional provisions, and is working in Nepal, India, Australia, and other countries to advance Rights of Nature frameworks. In 2016, Margil assisted members of the Ho-Chunk Nation in the United States to draft the first tribal constitutional amendment on the Rights of Nature, and advised members of the Green Party of England and Wales in developing their new party platform on the Rights of Nature. Margil received her Master’s degree in Public Policy and Urban Planning from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She is a co-author of several books, including The Public Health or the Bottom Line and Exploring Wild Law: The Philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence.

Erin Daly, Professor of Law, Widener University Delaware Law School and Co-Director, Dignity Rights Project

dalye_6662Erin Daly is Professor of Law at Delaware Law School and a co-founder of the Dignity Rights Project, which aims to advance dignity rights around the world through education and advocacy. She also serves as Vice President for Institutional Development at the Université de la Fondation Aristide, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. In 2013-2015, she served as Interim Dean and Vice Dean of the Law School. She is also the US National Correspondent, for the Centre International de Droit Comparé de l’Environnement. Her books include Dignity Rights: Courts, Constitutions, and the Worth of the Human Person (U. Penn 2012), with a Foreword by former President of the Israeli Supreme Court, Aharon Barak, which is the first book to explore the constitutional law of dignity around the world. With Professor James R. May, she has written about environmental constitutionalism Global Environmental Constitutionalism (Cambridge 2014), which surveys the trend in constitutional protection for environmental rights around the world and examines the challenges to and opportunities for judicial enforcement of those rights and is the co-editor of several other books on the topic, including Environmental Constitutionalism (Edward Elgar 2016), and two forthcoming books: Implementing Environmental Constitutionalism (Cambridge 2017) and New Frontiers in Environmental Constitutionalism (UNEP 2017).
Professor Daly’s first book, Reconciliation in Divided Societies: Finding Common Ground, (U. Penn 2006, 2010), co-authored with South African scholar Jeremy Sarkin and with a foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, examines post-conflict reconciliation and the extent to nations can achieve justice, truth, and forgiveness after violent political upheaval.

Mauritius Nagelmueller, LLM Candidate, International and Comparative Law

mauritius.jpgMauritius Nagelmueller earned a double degree in German and English law at the Universities of London and Passau, while attending classes at the University of Cambridge. He has worked as a trainee / research assistant in finance and international disputes, with two respected international law firms, and has been involved in the third party litigation funding industry for close to 10 years, working with different institutional funders in New York City, London, and Germany.
Mauritius is currently pursuing an LLM in International and Comparative Law at Tulane University Law School.
His writings include an essay on animal protection as a state objective guaranteed under the German constitution, for the German Legal Society for Animal Welfare Policy, of which he is an active member.

Daniel Noroña, LLB (Moderator)

noronaDaniel is an attorney from Ecuador having graduated from Universidad San Francisco de Quito in 2014. He has served as a researcher for the Ecuadorean Center for Environmental Law in issues regarding environmental criminal law and access to environmental justice. Afterwards he served as Assistant Attorney to they Human Rights Division in the Attorney General Office of Ecuador. Finally he worked at the Public Advocate Office of Ecuador (Defensor del Pueblo), in the Environmental, Nature and Indigenous Rights Division. Currently he is a candidate for the LLM in Environmental and Energy Law at Tulane University.