Centre for Law and Environment


Climate Change and the Rule of Law

The Climate Change and the Rule of Law blog invites contributors to reflect on emerging issues and relations between climate change and rule of law.

As climate law gets hotter, difficult questions about the rule of law are arising. Professors Maria Lee, Eloise Scotford and Steven Vaughan outline issues emerging between climate change and the rule of law.

4 October 2021

Read more blog posts

Sunlight illuminated the lingering oil slick off the Mississippi Delta on May 24, 2010

The developing legal landscape on parent company liability - corporate impunity drawing to a close?

Daniel Leader discusses how emerging jurisprudence on parent company liability could act as an important tool in the fight against climate change.

29 March 2022 

Lazaro Cardenas Refinery in Mexico

From Banana Republics to Fossil Fuel Republics and Why Climate Justice matters

Astrid Puentes Riaño demonstrates how the privileging of fossil fuel interests exemplify how much a new rule of law is needed in order to effectively contribute to solving the climate crisis.

28 March 2022

The front of an electric black car being plugged into a charging point

The race for lithium and the rule of law

The demand for battery-driven transportation, which relies on lithium, is rising. Professor Sanja Bogojević explains the polycentricity of net zero strategies and how they may lead to conflicts that threaten the rule of law.

22 March 2022 

The Law Society Building in Chancery Lane, London

Obligation, Self-Regulation, Lawyers, and Climate Change - Exploring the Scope of Duties to Advise

Sarah de Gay explores whether solicitors have an obligation to advise on climate-related risks; and who gets to decide what sort of obligation this may be.

14 March 2022

Three students are sitting at different tables in the main UCL library. There are wooden bookshelves around them

Net Zero Rule of Law: Climate Consciousness and Legal Education

Dr Kim Bouwer explains why the training and education of lawyers should entail a climate conscious approach.

10 March 2022 

On the eve of Typhoon Haiyan 3rd year anniversary, people from Tacloban light candles that spell out

People-powered corporate accountability for the climate crisis

Louise Fournier discusses how people-powered lawsuits are hastening the demise of fossil fuels and strengthening the rule of law.

1 March 2022

The Dravyavati River in Jaipur. The background are buildings and and hilly landscape

The Rule of Law: Driving water and climate inequality?

Dr Birsha Ohdedar illustrates the rule of law and its relationship with climate change by looking at water and climate conflicts in the Global South.

7 February 2022 

Wind turbines in a field

Climate Change and the Rule of Law(yers)

Lawyers acting for their clients are also professionals with a commitment to upholding the rule of law. Professor Steven Vaughan discusses the tension that can arise between protecting and confronting clients in upholding this commitment, particularly in relation to climate obligations.

1 Febuary 2022

Trees in a forest taken from a low angle, with green leaves

Climate consciousness and the reimagining of forest ecosystems within the rule of law

Feja Lesniewska explains the importance of expansive climate conscious legal change in protecting fundamental rights and preventing further injustice.

1 February 2022 

The flag of South Africa in front of trees and a blue sky

Off to a promising start? Climate rule of law and the emerging role of courts in South Africa

Professor Ademola Oluborode Jegede explores the emerging role of courts in clarifying and enforcing a climate rule of law in South Africa.

17 January 2022 

Four European Union flags in front of the Berlaymont Building, Brussels

Fit for 55: the role of the rule of law in national climate governance

Sharon Turner discusses what the EU's Fit for 55 Review may tell us about why national climate governance matters, what works, and the role of the rule of law in stabilising those arrangements.

17 January 2022 

A grey statue of Lady Justice holding scales

Climate Change, Legal Change, and Legal Imagination

Responding to climate change requires change. Professor Liz Fisher discusses how legal transitions are about evolving the law, and evolving legal imagination.

13 December 2021 

Green trees in a jungle with clouds in the background

Climate Conscious Lawyering

The role of a lawyer is to advise on the law - but this is problematic with respect to issues involving climate change. Justice Brian Preston discusses the challenges that lawyers face in giving legal advice in a time of climate change.

13 December 2021

The European Union flag

Participation and the EU Climate Transition: A Rule of Law Question

Professor Chiara Armeni explains how the relationship between rule of law and democracy makes the protection of the right to participate in decisions on climate change a rule of law question. 

13 December 2021

A white ship on the sea. In the background, there is gas coming out of a white tower

Corporations, Climate Change Litigation, and the Rule of Law

Cases seeking to address climate change by litigating against high emitting companies may challenge another core legal principle: the need for legal certainty. In this blog post, Joana Setzer and Catherine Higham explore the tensions presented by such cases.

28 October 2021

A large room with people sitting in rows looking at a screen at COP21 in Paris

COPs: Location, location, location

Monserrat Madariaga Gómez de Cuenca discusses how the location of the Conferences of the Parties (COPs) is significant in developing both national and international climate change law and governance.

28 October 2021

Four turbines against a grey sky background in North Wales

The Paris Agreement and the Rule of Law

Christoph Schwarte explains how the rule of law in international relations means states which signed the Paris Agreement need not only to abide by the treaty; but also create an enabling environment for wider compliance. The EU, in particular, can and should set a better example.

28 October 2021

Smoke and fire surrounding a forest

An Essential Alliance: Climate Change and the Law

The fate of the climate and the future of the law are intimately entangled. In this blog post, Tom Burke explains how the rule of law is a crucial precondition for the success of climate policy. 

4 October 2021

Lady Justice statue on top of the Criminal Court

Climate Change and the Rule of Law: A Case Typology

The relationship between climate change and the rule of law is a complex one. To illustrate this complexity, Professor Chris Hilson maps the terrain through a descriptive typology. 

4 October 2021