On 18 February 2020 the International Bar Association (the IBA) launched its Model Statute for Proceedings Challenging Government Failure to Act on Climate Change.

Among the various provisions aimed at removing common legal hurdles for citizens, businesses and NGOs seeking to compel government action on climate change, the Model Statute:

  • grants open standing for any person to enforce a government's relevant legal obligations;
  • restricts defences available to governments, for example that climate change is not an issue on which the courts can decide; and
  • reverses the usual "loser pays" rule for costs in the case of unsuccessful claimants.

Supporters of the Model Statute hope some or all of it will be adopted across the world in years to come. More pressingly in the UK, the Model Statute may provide persuasive guidance for judges in the rapidly expanding field of environmental judicial review. In the run-up to COP26, if your business could be impacted by government commitments on climate changes, now is the time to engage with government and help shape policy.