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6 Geo. Int'l Envtl. L. Rev. 713 (1993-1994)
The Philippine Children's Case: Recognizing Legal Standing for Future Generations

handle is hein.journals/gintenlr6 and id is 721 raw text is: The Philippine Children's Case: Recognizing Legal
Standing for Future Generations
TED ALLEN*
Needless to say, every generation has a responsibility to the next to
preserve that rhythm and harmony [of nature] for the full enjoyment of a
balanced and healthful ecology.
Supreme Court of the Philippines, Oposa v. Factoran,' July 30, 1993.
On July 30, 1993, the Supreme Court of the Philippines, granted standing
to a group of children who had sued to uphold their environmental rights
and those of future generations. The children, represented by the Philip-
pine Ecological Network, a Manila environmental group, sought to stop the
logging of the nation's dwindling old-growth rainforests. The children
argued that continued deforestation would cause irreparable injury to their
generation and succeeding ones, and would violate their constitutional right
to a balanced and healthful ecology. The Court held that the children had
standing to defend their generation's right to a sound environment and to
perform their obligation to preserve that right for future generations.
The case was noteworthy because it most likely was the first time that a
nation's highest court has explicitly granted legal standing to representa-
tives of future generations. The Children's Case reflects an emerging
principle of international environmental law that present generations have
a duty to pass on a sustainable environment to their successors. Vital to this
principle of intergenerational equity are legal mechanisms to ensure the
expression and consideration of the interests of future generations.
This case comment will discuss how the reasoning and arguments in
Oposa could be used to advocate the environmental rights of future
generations in the United States. This paper will focus on the United States;
* A.B. Duke University, 1988; M.S. Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, 1990;
J.D. Georgetown University Law Center, expected 1995. The author, formally known as Charles
Edward Allen III, has clerked during law school with the Environment and Natural Resources
Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, the World Resources Institute, and the Maryland
Attorney General's Office.
The author would like to thank Professor Edith Brown Weiss of the Georgetown University Law
Center for bringing the Philippines Children's Case to his attention and for reviewing early drafts of
this note. The author also would like to thank Professors Roy A. Schotland and William Butler for
their review and comments.
1. Judgment of June 30, 1993 (Juan Antonio Oposa, et al. v. the Honorable Fulgencio Factoran,
Jr., Secretary of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources et al.), Supreme Court
of the Philippines, G.R. No. 101083 (Phil.) [hereinafter Oposa]. The case has become known as the
Children's Case in Philippine newspaper accounts.

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