Press release: 19 May 2022

ClientEarth challenges Court’s permission decision on groundbreaking claim against Shell’s Board

LONDON – ClientEarth has been granted a hearing at the High Court to request it reconsiders the dismissal of a landmark lawsuit against Shell’s Board of Directors over climate risk mismanagement.

ClientEarth’s case – filed in February with unprecedented support from institutional investors holding over 12 million shares in the company – was the first to challenge corporate directors over their failure to prepare for the energy transition.

On Friday last week, the High Court of England and Wales refused permission for the lawsuit to proceed. An oral hearing has now been granted, at which ClientEarth will ask the Judge to reconsider his decision.

The lawsuit alleges that the Board’s flawed energy transition strategy puts the company’s long-term commercial viability at risk – in breach of its duties under English company law.

Paul Benson, ClientEarth Senior Lawyer, said: “This claim is about Shell’s Board adopting a strategy that is fit to manage the serious and significant climate risks facing the company – in line with its legal duties. We respectfully disagree with the terms of the Court’s decision, and in light of the importance of the issues raised by this case will ask the Court to reconsider.”

ClientEarth’s underlying claim asks the High Court for an order which requires Shell’s Board to adopt a transition strategy that is genuinely Paris-aligned to manage climate risk in line with its duties under the Companies Act. The Board is defending the action.


Notes to editors:
  • ClientEarth has a legal right to request reconsideration of the decision at an oral hearing. This remains a hearing before the High Court and is not legally an appeal of the Court’s judgment.

  • Further background on the case can be found here.

  • London-headquartered boutique litigation firm Pallas Partners is acting pro bono for ClientEarth on the claim. The firm specialises in high stakes litigation, international arbitration and investigations. The firm litigates cutting edge and complex cases, including securities litigation in the UK and Europe. Pallas launched in February 2022.

About ClientEarth

ClientEarth is a non-profit organisation that uses the law to create systemic change that protects the Earth for – and with – its inhabitants. We are tackling climate change, protecting nature and stopping pollution, with partners and citizens around the globe. We hold industry and governments to account, and defend everyone’s right to a healthy world. From our offices in Europe, Asia and the USA we shape, implement and enforce the law, to build a future for our planet in which people and nature can thrive together.