UCL Faculty of Laws


The European Court’s Climate Change Judgment

01 May 2024, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm

Storm clouds - climate change

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Gideon Schreier Lecture Theatre, UCL Laws
Bentham House, Endsleigh Gardens

The European Court’s Climate Change Judgment:
What the Court Really Said and what it means for Climate Change Litigation

An analysis by UCL experts

A hybrid event organised by the UCL Institute for Human Rights

About the talk

On the 9th of April the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights delivered its much-anticipated judgment in three climate change cases. In one of them, Verein KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz v Switzerland, the Strasbourg Court found for the first time a violation of the right to protection from the adverse effects of climate change. The case was brought by individuals, as well as a non-profit Swiss association aimed at promoting effective protection from climate change. The Court held that only the association had standing to complain and ruled a violation of article 8 ECHR (right to private life) and article 6 ECHR (right of access to court). It found that Switzerland was in breach of its positive obligation to adopt, and implement, measures capable of mitigating the adverse effects of climate change.

The KlimaSeniorinnen judgment is hailed as breaking new ground in climate change litigation by many but criticised as illegitimate judicial activism on the part of the European Court by some. UCL experts will analyse the reasoning of the Court and discuss what the judgment means for the future of climate change litigation and for European environmental policy. It will be followed by a Q & A session.

UCL Speakers:

  • Dr Veronika Fikfak
  • Ms Sonam Gordham
  • Professor Maria Lee
  • Professor George Letsas
  • Professor Lisa Vanhala

About the UCL Institute for Human Rights

The UCL Institute for Human Rights (IHR) was established to bring the university’s multidisciplinary expertise (for example in law, the humanities, and social and medical sciences) to bear on human rights. The UCL IHR brings together the broad range of teaching and research undertaken across UCL in subjects that fall within the broadly conceived field of human rights. It aims to advance and disseminate knowledge regarding issues of moral justification, legal interpretation and practical implementation of human rights, both domestic and international. The institute also aims to equip students studying human rights with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to contribute to the human rights movement, be it through civil society, governmental institutions or legal practice.

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