In the international arena, members have been instructed to represent 6 Portuguese youth applicants who filed a multi-state climate change complaint with the European Court of Human Rights, Duarte Agostinho and Others v Austria and 32 other Member States. The youth applicants argued that their rights protected by Articles 2, 3, 8, 14 and Article 1 of Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights are being violated because of the states' individual and collective failure to take appropriate steps to tackle climate change. This case has been widely reported.
Marc Willers KC is instructed as one of the team of advocates representing the applicants in the Swiss Senior Women’s climate change case, the first-ever climate change case of its kind before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights, heard in March 2023 – see a summary of the case.
Members were also instructed as lead Counsel to represent CAN-Europe in their application to intervene in the People’s Climate Case which was considered by the Court of Justice of the European Union.
In the UK, members have been instructed to challenge the government’s climate change strategy and policy, its decisions to permit fracking operations and the decisions of local authorities to grant permission for fossil fuel production on climate change grounds.
Tim Baldwin, Abigail Holt and Paul Clark advised the “Zero Hour” Campaign, on the Climate and Ecology Bill which is currently before the UK Parliament. The overarching objective of the Act will be to try to ensure that the UK Central Government in collaboration with devolved Governments to take real and effective steps at a national level to address climate change and urgently set targets to keep the UK within the Paris Agreement 1.5° C target. The aim is to create a framework for a detailed strategy to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving the climate emergency. Also, to reverse biodiversity loss in the UK.
The preamble to the Bill summaries its objectives as requiring: “the Secretary of State to achieve climate and nature targets for the United Kingdom; to give the Secretary of State a duty to implement a strategy to achieve those targets; to establish a Climate and Nature Assembly to advise the Secretary of State in creating that strategy; to give duties to the Committee on Climate Change and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee regarding the strategy and targets; and for connected purposes.”