Climate Litigation in the United Kingdom

photo: N Chadwick

Dr Birsha Ohdedar, Lecturer in Law, University of Essex, has published a new chapter, co-written with Steven McNab (Partner, Cleantech Cadre) on Climate Litigation in the United Kingdom. The chapter is published in M. Weller & W. Kahl (eds.) Climate Change Litigation: A Handbook (CH Beck 2021).

Ohdedar and McNab examine both the history of climate litigation and emerging trends in the United Kingdom. As they point out, the Courts in the United Kingdom have kept away from the global spotlight in many ways, not producing high profile cases that have grabbed headlines like those in the Netherlands or Pakistan. However, there has been a growing suite of climate-related jurisprudence in the United Kingdom covering a breadth of different areas of law. In fact, by some measures, the United Kingdom has the third most recorded climate litigation cases in the world.

Analysing the emerging trends of climate litigation in the United Kingdom, Ohdedar and McNab identify and discuss three types of litigation:

  • public/administrative law litigation against the government’s climate targets and standards;
  • litigation stemming from a transition to a low-carbon society (that is, litigation against fossil fuel intensive projects, such as fracking and airport runways, and for low carbon projects, such as renewable energy development); and
  • criminal litigation that targets climate activists and climate protests.

The chapter provides a bird’s eye view of many cases in these three categories linking back to broader themes of climate litigation globally.

The chapter is a valuable resource for practitioners, researchers and students and complement the comparative approach of the Handbook.

A copy of the chapter is available on Researchgate.net and Academia.edu.

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