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Corporate Climate Litigation: Lessons Learned, Comparative Perspectives and Future Pathways

Dr Ivano Alogna

More than 2000 climate change litigation cases have been filed globally. Whilst the majority of these cases have been filed against States, climate change-related cases have also been filed against private actors, mostly against the fossil fuel and cement companies that are the major greenhouse gas emitters. Although there is a growing body of work analysing climate litigation from a comparative perspective, analysis of the peculiarities of cases involving corporate players has yet to receive the same rigorous treatment as cases against States.

Against this background, the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) has developed a landmark research project on 'Global Perspectives on Corporate Climate Legal Tactics', which will provide a Toolbox of the most effective best practices worldwide in terms of substantive and procedural legal provisions relevant to climate change cases, to be used as legal models by policymakers and legal practitioners. It will also act as an authoritative reference point for judges and other adjudicators, leading to more informed decisions and producing clearer precedents, thus offering an inspiration for corporate actors to raise their climate-related ambitions.

As a central component of the project research, the project team is currently conducting a comparative analysis across 17 legal systems, in collaboration with national rapporteurs from those jurisdictions and an international expert group of eminent individuals in the field of climate law. The completed global Toolbox will be presented during an event at the UNFCCC COP28 in Dubai.

On 11 May 2023, BIICL convened a webinar to provide the public with expert analysis and discussion of this critical field of research and practice, with the participation of members of the BIICL Climate Change Law team and of the Core Group. The event drew on experience from other disciplines and areas of litigation, allowing valuable lessons to be learned for more effective corporate climate litigation. In addition, the event provided an opportunity to discuss comparative perspectives from different legal systems and future pathways for climate litigation involving businesses. The present report provides an overview of the discussions, divided into the contributions of each speaker.

The event was convened by Dr Ivano Alogna, Project Lead and overall Research Leader in Environmental and Climate Change Law at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law.

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