Climate justice history has been made!

In a landmark ruling on the case of Verein KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz and others v. Switzerland, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) found that Switzerland violated the rights of an association of older women to respect for private and family life, as well as access to justice, by failing to take action on climate change.

This ruling marks the first of its kind by an international court, establishing beyond doubt that Council of Europe (CoE) Member States have a positive duty to adopt and implement regulations and measures to mitigate climate change, ensuring the enjoyment of rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

At the same time, the Court rejected two further cases as inadmissible; the first brought by a former resident and mayor against France, the second brought by six Portuguese youths against Portugal and 32 other Member States. Whilst some expressed disappointment at these results, the win in the KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz case is truly a win for everyone, as one of the applicants from the Portuguese case herself stated.

Today´s ruling on KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz gave a huge boost for litigation to achieve climate justice, both before the ECHR, which currently has six further climate cases pending before it, and before national courts, and is sure to have ripple effects across the globe.