Category: Law

‘Dynamic and contestable’

Cissie Fu

Cissie Fu (Assistant Professor of Political Theory, Leiden University) reflected on the ‘Founding Statements of the Parliament of Things,’ and suggested to leave the notion of statements behind. ‘The Parliament must be build around promising qualities. There are no statements. All propositions…

The voice of the river


The 5th of August 2014: Gail Imhoff takes this picture, just before the Whanganui-river gets a legal voice. We visited New Zealand and the river in 2015 and wrote an article for De Correspondent (in Dutch).     00

The ‘Thing’: An Etymological History

kip klein

In the Old Norse, English, and Dutch, an assembly was called a Ding (or Thing). A gathering between assemblies would be known as the Althing. Assemblies were meant to settle disputes and find consensus. The Latin-based languages had a different word for this phenomenon.…

The River and the Monkey

Whanganui River

The Whanganui river in New Zealand has been granted legal personhood status in 2012. This river has two guardians, one representing the state, the other a representative of the Maori people. Another example: a white oak tree in Georgia, USA, widely known as…

Mother Earth: The Rights of ‘Pachamama’

“Western development has created a deathly wound to our Pachamama [Mother Earth] ” – David Choquehuanca, Bolivian minister of foreign affairs, 2009 Bolivia is at the forefront of a rare form of climate action. Under the non-conformist leadership of iconic leftist president Evo Morales,…

Should Trees Have Standing?


The importance of developing empathy towards plants and animals is not, by any means, a new idea. Neither is the fight for greater inclusion of non-human entities in the legal realm. In a 1972 paper titled “Should Trees Have Standing?” Christopher…