With participation from legal practitioners and scholars, the workshop is intended to:
- Analyse the use of human rights arguments in the practice of climate change litigation
- Take stock of lessons that may be learnt from successes and failures in the extant case law
- Draw general influences on the role of human rights law in the context of climate change litigation
- Identify future pathways to effectively use human rights arguments in climate change litigation
The workshop comes at a critical time. In recent years, litigants around the world have increasingly tried to push the boundaries of the law, by filing test cases to prompt state and corporate actors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or to obtain redress for harm to persons, property, or the environment associated with the impact of climate change. While relatively few of these climate cases have been argued on human rights grounds so far, the trend is continuing and accelerating.
Human rights arguments have been used to prop up those based on private or public law, to call for greater state and corporate efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, applicants have tried to use human rights remedies as an avenue to complain for harms associated with climate change, which can be framed in terms of breaches of human rights violations. It is at this crucial junction for climate change litigation that this workshop is so timely. Over the course of two days, a pool academic experts and practitioners involved in high profile climate cases globally will assess the potential and the shortcomings of using human rights arguments in climate change litigation, drawing on comparative insights from the international, regional and national level.
The workshop will be a hybrid event, combining in person and online speakers and discussants, and will be live streamed. Specifically, the workshop will consist of a series of 45 minutes sessions spread over two days. Each session will open with a presentation of the key ideas presented in a paper, which will be made available to all participants in advance of the workshop. Two discussants (typically, one practitioner and one academic) will engage in a discussion on the ideas expounded in the paper, followed by short Q&A session with the audience.
The academic output of the workshop will be a special issue of the Journal of Human Rights and the Environment, to be published in late 2021. The workshop is part of ‘All4Climate – Italy 2021’ programme, promoting 2021 as the Year of Climate Ambition. It is kindly supported by Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, the University of Stirling, the University of Eastern Finland and the European University Institute. It benefits from sponsorship by the British Academy and the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment.
Further information including a draft programme, can be found here