Peter A Allard School of Law

Climate Change Hits the Courts: The Public Trust Doctrine and Environmental Protection in Mathur

Centre for the Law and the Environment Assistant

Centre for the Law and the Environment Assistant

Dec 4, 2023

Climate Change Hits the Courts The Public Trust Doctrine

On November 29, 2023 the Centre for Law and the Environment hosted a public talk, "Climate Change Hits the Courts: The Public Trust Doctrine and Environmental Protection in Mathur". 

One of Canada’s first youth-led climate change cases, Mathur will be heard by the Ontario Court of Appeal in January 2024. Climate activists have argued the provincial government’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets do not adequately mitigate ongoing climate impacts and, as such, violate sections 7 and 15 of the Charter. Citizens for Public Justice, an intervenor in the case represented by Professor Hassan Ahmad, will argue before the Court of Appeal that the public trust doctrine, a centuries-old property law doctrine that historically barred governments from blocking access to public waterways, ought to be integrated into the section 7 analysis such that governments would be required to preserve natural resources for current and future generations.

About the Speaker

Headshot of Hassan Ahmad

Hassan Ahmad

Hassan Ahmad is an Assistant Professor at the Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia. He writes and researches on topics related to corporate governance and accountability, climate change litigation, the separation of powers, transnational torts, the interaction of domestic jurisdiction and liability principles with international law, business and human rights law, and the emerging field of law and political economy.

At Allard Law, Professor Ahmad teaches Torts and Administrative Law and previously coached the Jessup International Law Moot. He is also an affiliated scholar at Green College, UBC and with the British Institute of International and Comparative Law.

An award-winning scholar and teacher, Professor Ahmad has published his work in a number of leading domestic and foreign journals as well as edited volumes. He has also presented his research at, among others, Yale Law School, the University of Cambridge’s Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, UC Berkeley, and the American Society of International Law Annual Conference. His commentary has appeared in several media outlets such as The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, CBC News, CBC Radio, CTV News, and local television, radio, and newspaper sources.

Prior to joining Allard Law, Professor Ahmad was an Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law (Common Law Section) where he was voted as “Best Instructor” in 2021. Prior to that, he worked at the International Criminal Court, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and as a private practice litigator. 

  • Centre for Law and the Environment
Peter A. Allard School of Law UBC Crest The official logo of the University of British Columbia. Urgent Message An exclamation mark in a speech bubble. Arrow An arrow indicating direction. Caret A month-view page from a calendar. Caret An arrowhead indicating direction. Contact A page from a rolodex. Facebook The logo for the Facebook social media service. Information The letter 'i' in a circle. Instagram The logo for the Instagram social media service. Instagram An arrow exiting a rectangle. Linkedin The logo for the LinkedIn social media service. Mail An envelope. Minus A minus sign. Telephone An antique telephone. Play A media play button. Plus A plus symbol indicating more or the ability to add. Rss The logo for the Reddit social media service. Rss A symbol with radiating bars indicating an RSS feed. Search A magnifying glass. Twitter The logo for the Twitter social media service. Youtube The logo for the YouTube video sharing service.