People all over the world are bringing legal actions to hold governments and corporates to account for the climate crisis. As part of this gathering, global movement Plan B has been taking the UK government to court, to expose its failure to act in accordance with its commitments under the Paris Agreement.
- Young People v UK Government – Safeguard Our Lives and Our Families! The Government knows there is a climate emergency. It knows there is an unprecedented threat to the lives of current and future generations, with young people and the Global South on the frontline. It knows recovery from COVID-19 presents a one-off opportunity to avert disaster. But it has failed to produce a plan to reduce the UK’s emissions in line with its legal obligations. It has failed to prepare for the crises to come. And it has failed to control the City of London’s role as a world-leading financier and profiteer of destruction. The Government’s complicity is a breach of the social contract and a violation of its legal duties to our planet, our generation and our communities (including the right to life and the right to family life, the Paris Agreement and the international law duty to prevent harm). In January 2023, the European Court of Human Rights ruled the case inadmissible, without explanation. For further information see here.
- Plan B v Heathrow Expansion (and Attorney General v Tim Crosland): On 16 December 2020, the Supreme Court overturned the Court of Appeal’s ruling that in favour of Plan B and the Paris Agreement, ruling that the Government’s decision to disregard the 1.5˚C temperature limit in approving Heathrow expansion was lawful. In May 2021 the Supreme Court found Tim Crosland to be in contempt of court for breaching the embargo on the judgment and fined him £5,000. In October 2021, the Supreme Court heard Tim’s appeal against its initial judgment, but ruled in favour of itself. For further information, see here.
- Plan B & 11 Citizens vs UK 2050 Carbon Target: In December 2017, Plan B and and 11 UK citizens (aged 9 to 79) commenced proceedings against the UK Government for failing to set a safe climate target for 2050. In January 2018, the Committee on Climate Change recommended a review of the target leading to the introduction of a net zero target for 2050 in June 2019. The Court declined us a full hearing on the case. For further information, see here.