Press release

Media reaction: Court ruling 'a European first for climate litigation'

9 April 2024

In reaction to today’s landmark European Court of Human Rights ruling in favour of the case taken by Verein KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz and others, ClientEarth Fundamental Rights Lead Vesselina Newman said:  

 “This is not just a win for these inspirational claimants but a huge victory for those everywhere seeking to use the power of the law to hold their government accountable for climate inaction.  

“ClientEarth is very happy to have provided our own legal expertise on these issues to the Court and we’re very pleased to see the Court today adopt the approach we advocated for in our ‘friend of the court’ submission.  

“This result from one of the world’s highest courts sends a clear message:  governments must take real action on emissions to safeguard the human rights of their citizens. 

“This is also a European first for climate litigation. As this Court ruling is binding, signatory states now have a clear legal duty to ensure their climate action is sufficient to protect human rights, and judges across Europe will have to apply these new principles to the growing number of climate cases before them. 

“The influence of this decision also goes beyond Europe’s borders. Human-rights based climate cases are before courts in Brazil, Peru, Australia and South Korea, with this ruling potentially having an impact for those crucial proceedings as well.  

“None of this would have been possible without the grassroots efforts of concerned Swiss citizens. Like others, we are incredibly grateful to them.

“We will be combing through this landmark judgment over the coming days to assess the full legal ramifications of their victory.” 


Notes to editors:


ClientEarth's amicus briefing submitted on the case is available at:

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.