The recent decision (20 February 2024) of the High Court in R (Rights Community Action) v Secretary of State is a rare example of an NGO succeeding in a climate change legal action under English law.  In the case, Rights Community Action persuaded the High Court to overturn a finding by the Secretary of State’s Planning Inspectors that a local authority’s “net zero” policy was unlawful.Continue Reading NGO successfully challenges planning inspectors’ report on energy performance standards

Most UK climate litigation concerns challenges to the decisions of public authorities on projects with environmental effects or policies being adopted by Government that can have significant impacts on the environment.

A series of five recent decisions in the courts – all of which have rejected challenges based on climate grounds – show that the UK courts are extremely reluctant to call into question the decisions of national or local public authorities in the case of individual projects.  However, as we will see, there is room for challenges to be successful in limited circumstances which we consider below.Continue Reading A Wrap-Up of Recent UK Climate Change Litigation

On 27 September 2023, Brazil’s Supreme Court concluded the trial of Extraordinary Appeal No. 1,017,365, which discussed a cut-off date for indigenous occupation as a requirement for demarcation of indigenous lands. Based on a strict interpretation of the Brazilian Constitution, the time limit thesis tried to implement a cut-off date to restrict indigenous land claims, arguing that only indigenous lands occupied on the date of the 1988 Constitution promulgation could be demarcated by the Federal Government. In reviewing the appeal, the Supreme Court not only rejected the time limit requirement, but also established a broad set of criteria covering other relevant aspects to the demarcation of indigenous lands.Continue Reading Brazil’s Supreme Court rejects time limit requirement for indigenous land demarcation

On 12 September 2023, Brazil´s Attorney General Office, representing the Brazilian Federal Environmental Agency, filed a climate litigation lawsuit against a livestock farmer, seeking compensation for the deforestation of the Amazon Forest between 2003 and 2016.

This blog post provides a brief overview on this new lawsuit, which further strengthens a new trend for climate litigation in Brazil.Continue Reading New lawsuit filed by Brazil’s Federal Government further strengthens climate litigation trends against private entities in Brazil

Climate-related litigation is increasingly being used as a tool to hold private and public sector actors to account over their contributions to climate change. According to the Grantham Institute’s 2023 Global Trends in Climate Change Litigation Policy Report (the “Report“) – which was published on 29 June 2023 – around two-thirds of climate-related cases have been filed since 2015: between 1986 and 2014, approximately 800 cases were filed, but between 2015 and May 2023, approximately 1,557 cases were filed.

Although the majority of the climate-related cases identified in the Report were brought against regional and national governments, the Report identified an increase in the number of climate-related cases brought against private sector actors. Of the 190 climate-related cases identified in the Report as being filed between June 2022 and May 2023, around 46% were filed against an increasingly diverse pool of private sector actors. This reflects the growing recognition by prospective litigants of litigation as an effective means of influencing the actions private sector actors are taking to address climate change. We discuss the trends identified in the Report in this blog post.Continue Reading Climate litigation – the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment publishes its 2023 global trends in climate litigation report

On 28 February 2023, the Judicial Court of Paris (the “Court”) issued an interim order (the “Order”) in the context of a judicial dispute concerning compliance with the French Law n°2017-399 of 27 March on the Duty of Vigilance (the “French Vigilance Law”). This decision is the result of a lengthy judicial process that started back in 2019 when the defendant was summoned by several NGOs before the Court for an alleged lack of compliance with its obligation of vigilance.Continue Reading Business and Human Rights: first French case-law on the Duty of Vigilance – judges adopt a cautious approach to avoid judicial interference in corporate management

On November 15, 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published a press release providing an overview of its 2022 enforcement activities. The SEC stated that it had filed 760 enforcement actions in fiscal year 2022, which was a 9% increase from last year. The civil penalties, disgorgement, and pre-judgment interest ordered in SEC actions were $6.44 billion, the most in the SEC’s history and almost double the amount from fiscal year 2021. Of the total money ordered, civil penalties, which totaled $4.194 billion, were the highest on record.Continue Reading ESG continues to be a SEC enforcement focus

On 25 August, 2022, the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (“ACCR”) expanded its case against the Australian gas company, Santos Ltd. (“Santos”), with new and more detailed allegations around greenwashing.

Last year, ACCR filed a consumer protection lawsuit with the Federal Court of Australia regarding certain misleading or deceptive statements Santos

Litigation is increasingly being used as a means of advancing – or delaying – effective climate action.

As discussed in our recent legal update on the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment’s 2021 Global Trends in Climate Change Litigation Policy Report (the “2021 Report“), between 2015 and 2021, there was a marked increase in the number of such climate-related cases being brought against private sector actors.  This reflects the growing recognition by prospective litigants of litigation as an effective means of influencing the actions private sector actors are taking to address climate change.

Most recently, the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment’s 2022 Global Trends in Climate Change Litigation Policy Report (the “2022 Report“) confirms that litigation against private sector actors continues to expand as an avenue for climate action.  We discuss the trends identified in the 2022 Report in this blog post.Continue Reading The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment publishes its 2022 global trends in climate litigation report

On 1 July 2022, the Brazilian Supreme Court issued a ruling on ADPF 708 (Ação de Descumprimento de Preceito Fundamental), which is another climate litigation case under the court’s scrutiny (please read here and here for more information about other climate litigation cases submitted to the Brazilian Supreme Court). In summary, political parties filed ADPF 708 in June 2020, claiming the Brazilian Federal Administration had not taken appropriate measures to ensure allocation and use of funds from the Brazilian Climate Fund, which is supposed to play an important role in “climate financing”, pursuant to the Paris Agreement, by supporting climate change mitigation projects in Brazil.Continue Reading BRAZILIAN SUPREME COURT RECOGNIZES THE PARIS AGREEMENT AS A HUMAN RIGHTS TREATY