How climate change is fuelling litigation


How climate change is fuelling litigation

After several weeks of grabbing the headlines, the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow ended earlier this month amidst a mixed reception, with a range of measures and commitments to tackle climate change.  Environmental responsibility is now firmly on the agenda across every sector with organisations looking to articulate a clear set of sustainability goals.  As climate change claims continue to increase globally, pressure is mounting across all types of organisations to deliver a comprehensive plan of action.

What does the climate emergency mean for law firms?

What of law firms? How is the climate emergency affecting them and their businesses? At first glance it may not be obvious, but there are certainly implications for them and their clients which need careful consideration.

Many companies, governments and other organisations face increased risk, not just to their own operations but also from climate change-related disputes and actions against them.

Litigation boom?

Some are predicting a boom in climate change-related litigation. In much the same way that the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries have been the focus of litigation over decades, it’s not difficult to imagine how energy companies which continue selling fossil fuels, or car producers making combustion engines might be targets in the future.  

There is pressure to make it easier for litigants to bring these types of claims. In February 2020, the International Bar Association published a ‘Model Statute’ recommending changes to procedural and evidential rules for litigation against governments for failing to act on climate change. 

Shareholder activism and activism in general is also on the rise and public awareness of environmental issues has never been higher. In the age of social media, the imperative for businesses to respond to society’s concerns (and those expressed by shareholders) has never been greater.  

Climate-related litigation is still a niche but potentially lucrative area which law firms are increasingly considering. There will no doubt be future climate conferences bringing the issues into sharp focus again. 

Increased legislation and regulation in the climate sphere look likely in the coming years, so opportunities for advisory and implementation work will also increase for law firms working in this area.

How can Global BPO help?

At Global BPO we offer a range of partnered legal process services for law firms, across all practice areas including litigation, ranging from eDisclosure document review to bundle preparation, proof reading, legal research and knowledge management. 

We deliver significant cost savings on labour intensive processes such as disclosure while ensuring the highest levels of accuracy and quality are maintained.

We specialise in providing timely, bespoke solutions to meet the demands of court-imposed deadlines, working with firms alongside their own personnel, so that they stay firmly in control.   

Recruitment matters

Last but not least, law firms need to get their own houses in order when it comes to environmental matters and there is currently a skills shortage making it more challenging to recruit. The next generation of lawyers is more purpose-driven and interested in employers’ commitments to reduce their carbon footprint. Firms which embrace sustainability and the green agenda are likely to reap recruitment dividends.


For a no obligation chat about how we can help you, contact our Client Manager, Suzie Young at:


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