May 08, 2023

2023 DWT International Law Writing Awards

Two 2023 grads win the Davis Wright Tremaine International Law Writing Award for 2023.

The 2023 Davis Wright Tremaine (DWT) International Law Writing Awards winners are Casey Horan ’23 and Jackson Moffett ’23. Established through the generosity of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, the Lewis & Clark Law School award program provides a $2,500 stipend for the best research paper written in the past year by a Lewis & Clark JD student on any topic in international or comparative law, and a $1,000 stipend for the second best paper.

Casey Horan '23 Casey Horan ’23Casey Horan received first place for her paper, “REDD+ Countries Fail to Acknowledge Linkage Between Clearly Defined Rights and Successful Forest-based Climate Mitigation in Indigenous Communities”. The paper explores international climate frameworks as they relate to carbon rights and carbon crediting programs. Horan argues that differences in how countries legally define carbon credits impacts overall success in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Where carbon rights are linked to land title, key stakeholders may be excluded from participating in or benefiting from programs. For example, Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) are valuable land stewards and are responsible for managing much of the world’s forests. Yet, IPLCs often lack title to customarily held lands and as a result cannot access incentives or benefits for their stewardship efforts. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, countries can balance public and private/collective needs while prioritizing climate progress. Ample evidence exists to suggest affording more legal rights to IPLCs in carbon or land is a desirable end goal, but countries can use existing and emerging legal models to meet their near-term climate goals without major legislative overhaul.

Jackson Moffett '23 Jackson Moffett ’23Jackson Moffett received second place for his paper, “The Disproportionate Burden on Vulnerable Communities in the Trade of Plastic Waste: How Environmental Justice Should Be Integrated into the UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution.” The paper analyzes the harm environmental justice communities suffer as a result of the trade and disposal of plastic waste. Moffett argues that the UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution can advocate for these communities through binding targets on production; substantial funding and capacity building to ensure adequate treatment of plastic waste; and establishing a finance committee to support communities currently harmed by open-burning and other negative externalities.