Garden Court Chambers has been at the forefront of groundbreaking climate change litigation. Our environmental law barristers work with grassroots campaigners, high-profile charities and NGOs.
We have a long-standing commitment to sustainable development and safeguarding our environment.
In conjunction with our top ranked civil liberties and criminal defence barristers, we also have a proud track record of defending the rights of environmental protestors. In the UK and abroad, we regularly provide legal advice on a wide range of environmental issues.
Areas of Expertise
- Climate change
- Nature conservation
- Energy supply
- Sustainable development
- Fossil fuel and mineral extraction, including fracking
- Air quality marine ecology and conservation
- EU environmental law
- Environmental impact assessments
- Open spaces
- Surfers’ rights
Our barristers have represented clients in statutory and private nuisance actions, complex multi-party actions, and public inquiries. We often represent individuals and groups seeking to pursue judicial review of environmental decisions taken by public bodies.
CAN Europe intervention in the People’s Climate Case (2018)
Garden Court barristers are representing CAN (Climate Action Network) Europe on its application to the European General Court to intervene in the People’s Climate Case. This is a case in which families and youth have challenged the EU in order to protect their fundamental rights from the insufficiency of the EU’s 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction target. See coverage in The Independent.
Representing the Mayor of Malton in legal action against planned government changes to how fracking applications are handled (2018)
The Government issued a written ministerial statement requiring local authorities to ‘recognise’ the statutory definition of fracking set out in the Infrastructure Act 2015. Applying that definition, which relates to the volume of fluid used in the process, rather than the nature of the process itself, could lead to fracking operations (which use slightly less fluid than the statutory threshold) being granted planning permission in areas of outstanding natural beauty and national parks, such as the North York Moors. See BBC coverage.
Work on Barbuda international airport halted by interim injunction (2018)
The injunction was granted after the case was lodged outlining concerns about environmental damage that the Barbudans who brought the case, John Mussington and Jacklyn Frank, believe the project will cause. Department of Environment documents obtained by Mussington and Frank’s legal team revealed that the authorities had been warned about ecological as well as archaeological risks. See coverage in The Guardian.
Anti-fracking campaigner pursues Supreme Court challenge in bid to overturn Government decision to approve fracking in Lancashire (2018)
Representing anti-fracking campaigner Gayzer Frackman. This is the first case in which a court has had to consider whether planning permission can be granted for shale gas exploration wells without the need to take account of the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from shale gas production at the same wells. See coverage in The Guardian.
Garden Court has been engaged in six cases in the Indian High Courts to defend Greenpeace India’s right to freedom of expression. We have been successful in each case.
Oil and gas drilling licences in Norway
In Norway, we have worked on a lawsuit challenging the government’s grant of oil and gas licenses to 13 companies planning to drill in the dangerous and ecologically fragile Arctic.
KK & ors v AML (England & Wales High Court)
Garden Court Chambers represented 142 villagers who live near a large iron ore mine in West Africa. The claimants sought damages for personal injury, death and other damage allegedly caused by the actions and negligence of African Minerals Ltd, the British company that owns the mine.
Coal expansion in Turkey
The Turkish government planned over 60 new coal fired power stations, claiming that “energy security” makes it unnecessary to conduct environmental impact assessments, as required by international environmental law. We worked on an amicus brief in support of a constitutional law challenge to this extreme threat to the health of people in Turkey and neighbouring states.
Legal Response Initiative
We have worked with the Legal Response Initiative to advise developing nations and charities on the UN Climate Change negotiations and the enforcement of the resulting Paris Agreement. The Legal Response Initiative provides legal support to poor and climate-vulnerable developing countries – on public international law issues encompassing environmental law, treaty law and human rights law.