Climate Change Litigation

Beautiful view of icebergs in glacier lagoon, Iceland, global warming and climate change concept


Climate Change Litigation

Climate change litigation is trending around the globe and includes claims directly affecting national companies.


Climate change litigation is a recent phenomenon impacting not just the decision-making of governments and public bodies, but also of companies. Climate change concerns influence the grant and restrictions of licenses and permits, and they can be invoked under the public-participation provisions of the Environmental Permitting Regime and under planning law.

Gordon adapts climate change principles in his approach to flooding cases, in his permitting practice, and in his work involved with emissions. Emission claims include transportation cases and a claim brought for compensation as a result of the UK’s failure to ensure clean air limits locally in the Liverpool Docks area. 

Climate change cases may also directly affect the financing of infrastructure and other projects and influence the governance standards of public companies. Both the Advertising Standards Authority and Competition and Markets Authority have been asked to intervene in allegations of ‘greenwashing’. Derivative actions in the Companies Court seek to change the policies of boards of directors.  Contemporary academic discussions have sought to find ways to establish personal responsibility, including the imposition of criminal liabilities on the part of directors and the professionals they employ.

Global trends in climate change litigation

To date, most climate change litigation, which is still in its infancy, has taken place in other jurisdictions around the world, mainly in America, Australasia, and continental Europe, but there is no doubt that such claims are dramatically on the increase as activists gain confidence in court procedures. 

A claim in nuisance for compensation to fund climate resilience abroad may still appear somewhat speculative, but they may yet be convincingly formulated.  The authors of the annual report Global trends in climate change litigation Grantham conclude that: “Globally, the cumulative number of climate change-related litigation cases has more than doubled since 2015. Just over 800 cases were filed between 1986 and 2014, and over 1,200 cases have been filed in the last eight years, bringing the total in the databases to 2,002. Roughly one-quarter of these were filed between 2020 and 2022.”

The Grantham Institute’s full report is available at: Click here

Resources and further information

Gordon hosts legal guides relevant to the waste & recycling sector, environmental claims, and the law of nuisance on his separate legal resource site at 

A summary of Gordon’s cv in this and in related areas is at Click here

Get In Touch

To find out how Gordon Wignall can make a difference to your case contact us today.