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Plan B. Earth and Others v United Kingdom

Jurisdiction: European Court of Human Rights


Side A: Adetola Onamade, Jerry Amokwandoh, Marina Tricks, and Tim Crosland (Individual)


Side A: Plan B Earth (Ngo)


Side B: United Kingdom (Government)


Core objectives: Whether the UK has breached obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights by failing to reduce GHG emissions.


Summary
On July 11, 2022, Plan B. Earth, Adetola Onamade, Jerry Amokwandoh, Marina Tricks, and Tim Crosland filed an application at the European Court of Human Rights against the United Kingdom with a request under Rule 41 (priority). The claimants allege that, in breach of its legal obligations arising under the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights, the UK Government is systematically failing to take practical and effective measures to address the threat from man-made climate breakdown. Articles 2, 8 and 14 of the Convention impose on governments the positive obligation to take reasonable and proportionate steps to safeguard the right to life and to family life and to do so without discrimination. That means: (i) aligning emissions reductions to the 1.5˚C Paris objective; (ii) preparing for the impacts of climate change, so far as that is possible (including by providing the public with good information); (iii) aligning public and private finance flows to the 1.5˚C Paris objective; and (iv) making the polluter pay, with effective mechanisms to ensure compensation and reparation for the victims of climate change.

This case is related to a previous claim filed before the High Court of the United Kingdom in March 2021, which was refused permission to proceed on the papers but was later appealed by the claimants. Nevertheless, in March 2022, the UK Court of Appeal refused to hear the Claimant’s case on the basis that the Paris Agreement was irrelevant: “The fundamental difficulty which the Claimants face is that there is no authority from the European Court of Human Rights on which they can rely, citing the Paris Agreement as being relevant to the interpretation of the ECHR, Articles 2 and 8 [the rights to life and to family life]”. It also ruled that the fact that the family life of the three young people bringing the claim is inextricably linked to communities on the frontline of the crisis in the Global South was irrelevant to determining the scope of their right to family life, despite the prohibition against discrimination in safeguarding Convention rights.

Case documents

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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