Centre for Access to Justice


ClientEarth Transition Finance Research Clinic

Applications for this opportunity are now open.

6 December 2023

About ClientEarth

We are one of the world's most ambitious environmental organisations. We are a team of over 250 people across eight offices, dedicated to protecting life on Earth. We work in over 50 countries, using the law to create systemic change. We focus on the most pressing environmental challenges, because a future in which people and planet thrive together isn't just possible - it's essential. For more about ClientEarth's work on climate finance visit this page. 

About the Clinic: 

Transition finance is a type of climate finance that is intended to allow for the gradual decarbonisation of carbon-intensive entities. It is generally regarded as being provided for whole-of-firm decarbonisations and business transformations, rather than for the execution of discrete low or zero emission projects (the domain of green finance). Increasingly, transition finance (including the markets for certain types of labelled debt including sustainability-linked and transition-labelled debt) is associated with the phenomenon known as greenwashing.

ClientEarth is presently developing a workstream which will involve advocacy and engagement with policymakers regarding laws and regulations (“legal guardrails”) that can help to prevent the greenwashing of transition finance. Policymakers and other stakeholders are increasingly recognising that transition finance could play an important role in the climate transition, and as a result the volume of commentary on the subject is proliferating such that it is proving increasingly difficult to keep on top of the evolving policy landscape.

Role and Responsibilities:

Students enrolled in the clinic will be split into small groups and requested to coordinate and then feed back regarding the research exercises jointly. This research clinic is likely to involve the following main activities and will typically take place remotely:

  1. Initial training session (w/c 29 January): Students will be introduced to the topic of transition finance, relevant sources, and ClientEarth's work in this area. They will also review how to carry out research and summarise results, as well as how to organise research among their groups.
  2. Research exercise, 29 January to 19 February: Students will familarise themselves with background reading regarding transition finance to bring them up to speed. They will consider various questions, including: What is transition finance? Where did it come from? What is its potential? How is greenwashing impeding its development and what are the root causes of that issue?
  3. Workshop 1: in/around 19 February (1.5 – 2 hours)Students will discuss their research findings with each other, a faculty administrator (Pedro de Schilling Carvalho) and a representative of ClientEarth (Alex Lombos). This may be done through a formal presentational element or some more interactive activity.
  4. Policy development exercise, 19 February – 15 March: Students will prepare a research memo suggesting laws and regulations that policymarkers are and/or could use to address the greenwashing of transition finance. They should consider how the law can address the problems identified in the preceding research exercise. ClientEarth will provide a base list of sources, but students are encouraged to go beyond. 
  5. Workshop 2: in/around 15 March (1.5 – 2 hours): Students will present their research memos and ideas to each other, a faculty administrator (Pedro de Schilling Carvalho) and a representative of ClientEarth (Alex Lombos), with time for Q&A.
  6. Blog post exercise: 15 - 22 March: Students will prepare a blog post for the UCL Centre for Law and the Environment, summarising their ideas regarding the laws and/or regulations that policymakers could use to address the greenwashing of transition finance.

Please note that the suggested activities and timeline are indicative only and subject to change ahead of the project start date.

Eligibility and How to Apply


Who can apply:

LLB Students in Year 2, 3, and 4, and LLM Students. Any background in, or initial understanding of, any of the following subjects would be helpful: climate change, the financial sector (in particular, debt markets), financial regulation, company law, business and human rights law / standards.

Japan has been an early proponent of transition finance – so any Japanese language capabilities / work experience is desirable. 

How to apply: 

Applications for this opportunity are now open. The deadline to apply is 25 January 2024 at 5 pm. Please apply via the online application form.

Please includes sources where appropriate. Should you have any questions, please contact Ram Sabaratnam at ram.sabaratnam.19@ucl.ac.uk