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The Climate Science and Law Forum launches to advance strategic climate litigation

Posted on 19 June 2023

Mishcon de Reya has today announced that it has partnered with organisations from three leading academic institutions - the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Imperial College London and the University of Oxford - to launch the Climate Science and Law Forum.

In response to findings from scientists that climate litigation is often determined by erroneous, misinterpreted or outdated science, the Forum aims to strengthen the conversation between climate litigators and climate scientists and boost long-lasting interdisciplinary collaboration.

Through regular opportunities for discussion and exchange to identify new opportunities and priorities, Forum members will seek to advance strategic climate litigation that is strongly science-based and has a better prospect of success.

The founding bodies of the Climate Science and Law Forum are:

  • Mishcon de Reya LLP
  • The Grantham Research Institute, the London School of Economics
  • The Grantham Institute, Imperial College London
  • Oxford Sustainable Law Programme, University of Oxford

Alexander Rhodes, Head of Mishcon Purpose and Partner at Mishcon de Reya, commented: "The law has an important role in enabling the transition to net zero, and in ensuring that transition is just. Climate litigation will only be effective in addressing critical questions regarding responsibility and accountability if emerging science is well understood. We are excited to support this initiative to promote increased collaboration and understanding of climate related issues between lawyers and scientists."

Joana Setzer, Assistant Professorial Research Fellow at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science, commented:  "Collaboration and communication between lawyers and scientists play a crucial role in climate litigation. The intersection of legal expertise and scientific insight necessitates lawyers to be well-versed and actively involved in the latest climate science. Simultaneously, scientists can discover a vital conduit for their work to furnish essential evidence and practical applications through the law. We are thrilled to be part of this initiative that facilitates such collaboration and communication, with the hope that it will benefit numerous lawyers and scientists working in this field."

Friederike Otto, Senior Lecturer in Climate Science at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London, commented: “The application of the law to facts and evidence is never purely mechanistic. Every legal case is decided within a political, social and cultural context and an understanding of what can and cannot be evidenced and what belongs in the courts. With time being of the essence and to justly address pressing legal questions on climate change, a close collaboration between lawyers, scientists and legal scholars is important to ensure the latest science is understood in the courts and scholars answer the questions society has.”

Joeri Rogelj, Director of Research at the Grantham Institute and Professor in Climate Science & Policy at the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College London at Imperial College London, commented, "Science is most valuable to society when its insights are effectively applied. The recently established Climate Science and Law Forum aims to promote a deeper understanding of the latest scientific knowledge within the legal community, while also offering scientific scholars valuable insights into the questions and challenges faced by the legal profession. Addressing climate change is one of the paramount societal challenges of our time, and science has a vital role to play in helping society comprehend and take meaningful action to tackle this challenge.”

Dr Rupert Stuart-Smith, Research Associate in Climate Science and the Law at the University of Oxford, commented: "Climate science has a crucial role to play in supporting legal claims for climate accountability. If the full potential of legal action on climate change is to be realised, it is essential that lawyers have access to scientific insight that provides a firm factual basis for claims. We are delighted to contribute to the Forum and look forward to collaborating with our partners to support high-impact climate litigation in the UK and beyond."

Founding organisations

LSE logoUniversity of Oxford logoimperial college london    mishcon de reya logo

Related Coverage


Forum proceedings

Proceedings of the First Climate Science and Law Forum
Proceedings of the Second Climate Science and Law Forum

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