Landmark climate change litigation shows direction of travel: is your law firm ready to handle large-scale casework? 

Landmark climate change litigation shows direction of travel: is your law firm ready to handle large-scale casework?

The first ever ruling on climate change by an international court was handed down in April by the European Court of Human Rights.


The Swiss case


In a case brought by a group of older Swiss women, the court ruled that Switzerland’s weak climate policy had violated their right to family life.  The women, who are all over the age of 65, argued that they were especially vulnerable to the health impacts of increasing heat waves due to their age.


A turning point?


The case has been hailed as a turning point in climate litigation. While there have been decisions involving domestic courts in the past, this is the first ruling by an international court and it potentially sets a precedent for similar lawsuits across Europe and around the world. It is the first decision which confirms that states have a duty to protect citizens from the effects of climate change.


Meanwhile, in the USA a growing list of cities and states are suing fossil fuel companies for allegedly deceiving the public about the climate crisis. The lawsuit involves major oil companies BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil.


This echoes the cases brought against companies in the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries over many decades and it seems likely that more and more private companies in different sectors (as well as other state and public bodies) will be caught up in climate-related litigation in the future.


Climate change to fuel litigation


As we wrote in a previous blog, the growing awareness and urgency around the issue of climate change seems likely to fuel a boom in climate change-related litigation.


Such cases seem likely to be brought by groups of litigants and will involve complex technical arguments revolving around “the science,” requiring significant amounts of evidence to be put before the court. All of which will create a sizable workload for the lawyers involved.


Many law firms are likely to struggle to find the resources to run such cases single-handedly due to the sheer scale of evidence and parties involved but few would want to turn down the chance to work on such landmark work, so what are the options? 

How can we help?

Global BPO offers partnered legal process services for law firms, across all practice areas. When it comes to dispute resolution, we provide a range of services, from eDisclosure document review to bundle preparation, proof reading, legal research and knowledge management. 

We specialise in providing timely, bespoke solutions to meet the demands of court-imposed deadlines and the pressures of large-scale litigation. We work in partnership with law firms, side-by-side with their own staff.

We provide skilled and experienced staff (not always easy to recruit directly when you need them) who deliver the highest levels of accuracy and quality. We can quickly flex our staffing levels up or down to reflect the ebbs and flows of our clients’ needs. As a result, our clients see significant cost savings on labour intensive processes, such as disclosure, when they partner with us. 

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


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