► Full Reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., Chair for "The temporal dimension: Imminence and Intertemporally", in Climate Change Cases before National and International Courts Cross-fertilization and Convergence", November 27, 2021, Paris.
Summary of the panel presentation: The specific topic of our panel is the “temporal dimension” of the judicial cases of Climate change.
We shall listen to two great experts on this topic, which is Time.
Listening the other previous speakers, I understand how this topic is important, because Climate Change requires an immediate action and it create a political issue, because everyone comes before courts.
A basis and fundamental problem, because the times are not adjusted.
let's come back to basic notions, to have three times : “past, present, future”.
The issue of Climate Change is in the Future, the necessity of Action is in the Present and the basis temporal question is to know if Courts are the bodies adequate to responde ; maybe it is inevitable that Judge must be recreate their office because the time of the classical judicial office is the Past.
Immediately, this simple et huge problem appears : in a classical repartition, the judge is the legal character to intervenir for the Past, the present (maybe is for you and me), and the future is the time for the State, and more precisely for the Parliament.
But the climate change is a huge topic, not in the past, not in the present, but in the future.
Therefore a gap exists between the time of the topic and the time of the court before the case is explained for obtaining a solution : how to give a good answer ? Judge maybe must travel in time, from past to future …. Maybe, he must, but might he?
Classically, the judge can anticipate a very next future, but not the more distant and systemic future. Climate change belongs to the second one.
This is why the title of this panel is non only about the necessity to take in consideration the “imminence” but also the “intertemporally” : maybe court are the sole able to create this intertemporality between Past and Future, and by this way to obtain from States and companies to do something immediately !
By two legal ways.
Courts can stay in Past, supervising States, if they dispose of effective legal decisions taken by States in the past about Climate Change (essentially Paris Agreement, for instance transposed in the French legal system by a formal law). This is why an efficient judicial solution would be the possibility for the courts to oblige State to implement their more or less committment they had taken in the past for the future (as the Conseil d’Etat did in the Commune de Grande-Synthe Cas Law).
Even for that, the courts must adopt a creative notion of what is a commitment from a State through a Law... ; as they must do about private companies comitment (in their codes of conduct or soft law of corporate social responsability).
But what to do if States didn’t take such commitment ?
Some can allege Courts are not Parliaments and are not legitimate to rule for the future … It is a political issue, a very classical one but very accurate for Climate change (where States and companies are face to courts...) and maybe And as our colleague said, judicial system is quite technically weak to concretize human rights.
Therefore, the second way, more innovative, est the new use of Tort Law : no more a liability Ex Post, but a responsibility Ex Ante. In every legal system, even in Civil Law systems, Tort Law is conceived by courts (for instance in French Law).
If the new reasoning is conveived in Ex Ante, Tort Law must be a set of legal tools to reach the monumental tools to reach the "Monumental Goal" (being by nature future) which is the Climate Change stopping.
In this teleological reasoning, the admissibility and the choice remedies, must be adapted to obtain what is central : the effectivity and the efficiencicy.
In this sens, the judgement between two parties (which was an Ex Post act) may be conceived as an systemic efficient action (which was an Ex Ante act), because it must be.