Public talk: Can legal rights be granted to nature?

03.02.2022, 18:30

The legal conception in the Roman-legal and Anglo-Saxon world treats nature, animals, plants and landscapes, but also abstract environmental goods such as water and air, as objects that can be owned, destroyed or protected. Accordingly, they are not themselves bearers of rights; their protection can only be asserted through advocacy, i.e. through representative rights bearers, such as environmental associations.

On the other hand, the demand for nature’s own rights, which is formulated from various directions, is based on an ethical model with which humans recognise nature both as a partner and as the premise of their existence on this planet.

The importance of ecosystems and their preservation for the future is existential for human beings. Is it time to move away from the anthropocentric view of rights – for example, by granting nature its own subjective rights? Is it necessary to redefine the relationship between humans and nature so fundamentally for the effective protection of forests, rivers and plants that only a paradigm shift in our traditional understanding of law can help?

Guaranteeing nature its own rights or a legal personality is a current constitutional development that can already be observed in some jurisdictions worldwide. This calls for a comparison with the current national and EU legal system – and raises questions of legal ethics that take us beyond the limits of our traditional understanding of nature, law and legitimacy.

Dr. Ivana Mikešić, lawyer and expert in public law, especially environmental law, will discuss these questions in conversation with Prof. Franziska Nori, Director of the Frankfurter Kunstverein, based on the exhibits in the exhibition The Intelligence of Plants.

Dr Ivana Mikešić has worked as a lawyer in Frankfurt am Main and Berlin since 2001. She advises companies as well as the public sector on issues of public commercial law and regulated markets. After studying philosophy and law, completing her legal traineeship and doctorate, she made her way through international law firms as an associate and finally as a partner. Since 2016, Ivana Mikešić has been looking after her long-standing client base in her own firm under the name R & P Legal. Her theoretical interests focus on the discursive relationship between social systems and their normative conditioning and control.

The talk will be held in German. Admission is free.

Please preregister via mail to

The 2G-Plus rule applies to admission. You can visit the Frankfurter Kunstverein if you meet one of the following requirements:

– Double vaccinated and tested
– Recovered and tested
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– Recovered and double vaccinated
– Double vaccinated and recovered
– Vaccinated, recovered, vaccinated
– Freshly double vaccinated (max. 3 months from the day of the second vaccination)
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Please have all necessary documents ready (proof of vaccination or recovery, your identity card, if necessary a daily negative test).


– Children under 6 years of age (no need for testing).
– Under 18 years and persons who cannot be vaccinated: with a daily negative test or test booklet
– Double vaccinated or recovered pupils: with one negative test per week in the test booklet.

Please note: During holidays, pupils need a daily negative test, during school time the test booklet is sufficient.