International law institute launches project to deepen research into corporate-related climate litigation

The British Institute of International and Comparative Law will draw on experts from science, the judiciary, legal practice and academia
A photo of a line of smokestacks belching smoke into the atmosphere at sunset

BIICL project will look at climate litigation cases involving companies Shutterstock

The British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) has launched a new research project to inform policymakers and legal practitioners about corporate-related climate litigation.

The ‘Global Perspectives on Corporate Climate Legal Tactics’ project will provide a toolkit for non-governmental organisations, government bodies, local communities and other groups impacted by climate issues around the world. The project seeks to analyse climate litigation related to corporates to match the ‘rigorous’ analysis that already exists in climate litigation cases against states.

Ivano Alogna, the BIICL project leader, said: “We believe this project will establish a valuable reference source for policymakers and practitioners exploring the options for climate change litigation involving companies. It will develop legal models to be incorporated into domestic legislation, regulation, contracts and international treaties. It will foster more effective litigation planning and outcomes whilst at the same time allowing corporate actors to make positive changes to mitigate their litigation risks and contribute to combatting climate change.”

The Global Legal Post will be publishing a Law Over Borders ESG comparative law guide in 2022; for further details email associate publisher [email protected]

The BIICL research team includes a multidisciplinary bench of global experts on corporate climate litigation and related areas, drawing from science, the judiciary, legal practice and academia. Those include Nigel Pleming KC, of 39 Essex Chambers and chairman of the project’s core group of experts; Jacqueline Peel, a professor at the University of Melbourne and director of Melbourne Climate Futures; and Richard Heede, director of the Climate Accountability Institute.

Pleming said: “BIICL has the necessary independence and expertise to research, analyse, organise and publish a report bringing together best practices from around the globe. Climate change litigation, particularly when involving non-governmental parties, must be efficient and speedy, with streamlined procedures and effective remedies. It is to be hoped that the legal models identified by BIICL will materially assist countries to ensure that these aims are realised.”

Back in September, a group of 150 UK and international lawyers wrote an open letter to the legal profession, urging law firms and in-house lawyers to warn clients when deals could conflict with the UN’s climate change targets and potentially expose them to substantial legal risk.

A Hogan Lovells report in August also found that global corporates are struggling to get a grip on environmental, social and governance risk, with 82% of compliance officers concerned that ESG is not being properly embedded into existing risk practices.


Email your news and story ideas to: [email protected]