Skip to main content
  • Home
  • Research
  • ...
  • 6
  • Research Seminar: School of Law and Justice - The River as a Separate Legal Person

Research Seminar: School of Law and Justice - The River as a Separate Legal Person

Presented by Rhett Martin

Date: 23 June 2021
Time: 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Venue: Toowoomba - Q420 Wonderley & Hall USQ Moot Court or via Zoom
Contact: For more information, please contact the School of Law and Justice.
Save to calendar: Download
We readily think of individuals and companies as separate legal persons, but what about a natural resource like a river? In February 2017, the New Zealand Parliament granted separate legal personhood on Te Awa Tupua, otherwise known as the Whanganui River. The immediate practical effect is the requirement for the New Zealand Government and the Whanganui tribe to act collaboratively in representing the river's rights to be kept in a healthy state and not be exploited without authority. Ownership of the riverbed has now transferred from the Crown and vests in the river itself. This development has several interesting implications, including consequences of using the river for commercial exploitation such as for hydro-electric power. Can the river charge for its 'physical' resource in potentially producing power? What implications does separate legal personhood of a natural resource have on environmental and sustainability regulation?