A group led by a former Bloc Québécois MP is taking the Canadian government to court in the hope of overturning Ottawa's decision to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol.

Daniel Turp presented a motion in Federal Court on Friday to contest the Conservative government's decision to ditch the world's only binding climate treaty.

Turp's group, which includes university students and environmentalists, is asking the court to declare Canada's Kyoto withdrawal illegal.

The professor of international law argues Canada signed the protocol as a country and that it cannot back out based on just a simple decision by the Harper government.

Turp also says the Tories' decision to withdraw from Kyoto violates democratic principles.

"The government should be reminded that it has some legal obligations — it cannot just do what it wants," said Turp, who added he is prepared to take his fight all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

"We think we have a good case."

He said he wants the government to realize it was a bad idea to withdraw from the treaty.

Environment Minister Peter Kent announced last month that Canada was pulling out of Kyoto, making it the first country to abandon the climate treaty.

Turp's group has hired prominent human-rights lawyer Julius Grey to plead its case.