Climate change litigation: global perspectives

Following an event at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law which brought together academics, legal practitioners and NGO representatives to discuss global efforts to advance climate change litigation, Ingrid Gubbay and Claus Wenzler were invited to contribute to the ground-breaking book ‘Climate Change Litigation: Global Perspectives’, published by BRILL in May 2021. The volume builds on the insights from that event, complemented by additional contributions from a wide range of authors.

The volume offers the reader the most complete picture of how climate change litigation is evolving globally to date, highlighting opportunities as well as constraints. Reflecting the multi-faceted nature of global legal climate change activism, the volume brings together a unique range of perspectives, both in terms of authors contributing, as well as the jurisdictions and legal fora covered.

In their chapter titled “Intergenerational Climate Change Generation”, Ingrid Gubbay, Hausfeld’s European Head of Human Rights and Environmental Law and Associate Claus Wenzler for the first time tell the gripping story of their experience representing 16 children in the first ever climate change Communication to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The chapter places the Communication against a wider background of youth climate activism with a focus on what ambitions are achievable at the international level. It provides an insight into the legal strategies pursued and the communications procedures of the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies, and delves into granular detail on key aspects including jurisdiction as well as the exhaustion of local remedies. UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies are under-utilized in the context, and it is hoped this chapter inspires and stimulates further strategic youth climate activism in international courts and tribunals.

In addition, the book addresses the potential and limitations for bringing climate change-related cases in a wide range of courts and institutions, including regional human rights courts, the United Nations Treaty Bodies to the International Court of Justice, the World Trade Organisation, the International Criminal Court and international arbitration.

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