header gradient
header gradient

Abstract

In 2021, Lord John Bird introduced the Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill (‘the Bill’) in the United Kingdom’s House of Lords. While the Bill failed to proceed beyond its first reading at the House of Commons, it is likely to be reintroduced in the near future with amendments that take into account the academic and political debate it inspired. With the intention of contributing to that debate, this comment argues that the Bill fits into a growing trend in international law and other domestic jurisdictions to protect future generations through legal means. As one of the most recent manifestations of that tendency, the Bill introduced concrete measures to mitigate risks to future generations and by making some of its main obligations justiciable. However, the proposal falls short in at least two regards: its framing of the ‘future generations principle’, which is simply a reiteration of the concept of sustainable development, and its lack of precision regarding types of risks to future generations, especially with regards to existential risk. We conclude that the immense moral relevance of protecting the vast number of future people demands some significant improvements to the Bill before it is reintroduced in Parliament.