Marc Willers KC represents Swiss Senior Climate Women at the European Court of Human Rights

Wednesday 5 April 2023

Marc Willers KC of Garden Court Chambers represented the Swiss Senior Women as part of an international legal team.

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On 29 March 2023, Marc Willers KC represented the inspirational Swiss Senior Women in their case, heard at the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. The Swiss Senior Women have claimed that their country's inaction on climate change has violated their human rights. They state they are particularly vulnerable to the climate crisis because their health is at risk from heat waves. This was the first ever climate change case of its kind to be heard by the European Court of Human Rights. 

Watch Marc's argument in the Grand Chamber below:

In his concluding remarks, Marc stated:

‘Members of the Court, there is no time left; dangerous climate change is with us; the Applicants are suffering and fear the future. Switzerland has no excuse for its failures to protect the Applicants’ rights. It has known the harm that inadequate action would cause and, despite that knowledge, it has failed to act with sufficient urgency and application, undermining global efforts and mutual trust. If a country as rich and technologically advanced as Switzerland cannot do its fair share – I go further, does not even take the trouble to assess what its fair share should be – what hope is there that other countries will step up to the challenge we face?’

Watch Marc's concluding remarks here:

The team was led by Cordelia Bähr and included Marc Willers KC, Jessica Simor KC, Raphaël Mahaim, Martin Looser, Louise Fournier and Richard Harvey. Richard is a lawyer in Greenpeace International’s Legal Unit and is a barrister in the Garden Court Chambers International Team.

It has received international press coverage, including BBC News, The Guardian, CNNReuters, and The Independent.

Marc appeared on BBC World Service to discuss the case, stating:

"The Swiss government have failed woefully to protect the rights of our clients, by failing to adopt appropriate targets to tackle climate change. This is the first-ever climate case that has been brought before the ECtHR.

"States need to do more. We hope this judgment will galvanise, not just Switzerland, but other states to take climate change much more seriously."

Listen to the full interview on BBC World Service's Newshour here.

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