United Kingdom.

Running strategic climate litigation.

Baker McKenzie acted for the Good Law Project and environmental activists Dale Vince and George Monbiot in an action against the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This action, brought by way of judicial review, aimed to force the UK Government to update its national energy policy to reflect and comply with the UK’s commitments and legal obligations in relation to climate change, including the Paris Agreement and the UK Parliament’s declaration of a climate emergency in 2019. 

The current UK energy policy framework is based on outdated national policy statements implemented in 2011. They form the primary basis upon which energy projects in the UK, including oil, gas and coal energy projects, can be approved. Baker McKenzie’s clients’ aim was to force the UK Government to revisit and then update these national policy statements based on underlying legislation requiring the national policy statements to be reviewed in certain circumstances, which their clients argued were applicable here. The claim challenged the assumption of authority by civil servants to decide that the national policy statements would not be reviewed now. The claim also challenged the failure to review the national policy statements in light of material changes that would have substantially affected their content, including the UK Government’s commitment to net zero carbon by 2050.

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