Northern Ireland lawyers brushing up on climate law

Northern Ireland lawyers brushing up on climate law

A new training programme aims to inspire, empower and support Northern Ireland lawyers providing services to clients in the emerging areas of environmental law and climate justice.

Solicitors from across the jurisdiction were welcomed to Law Society House last week for the first in a series of events being delivered by the Law Society of Northern Ireland in partnership with The PILS Project.

Katie de Kauwe, solicitor for Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland, provided an overview of climate justice, its link to human rights and the key international and EU legal instruments that are relevant for the purposes of advancing climate justice litigation.

Marc Willers KC, who specialises in environmental law and climate justice and has been involved in high-profile litigation in the area of climate justice, provided an overview of key jurisprudence relevant to climate litigation.

The training programme continues with a second session in April, with a focus on relevant pieces of legislation including the Climate Change Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 and the Aarhus Convention and corresponding regulations.

The last part of the programme, which will be held in May, will include a focus on local campaign groups, the issues they are working on as well as presentations on climate-related legal action that has taken place in Northern Ireland, including the use of third-party interventions.

Dr Andrew Godden, the Law Society’s professional development and training lead, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Public Interest Litigation Support (PILS) on this critical issue which has implications for local solicitors and their clients.

“We are grateful to Katie De Kauwe from Friends of the Earth and Marc Willers KC for their invaluable contributions to making this first event such a success.”

Maria McCloskey, director of The PILS Project, said: “Law is not the only answer to the climate crisis, but I believe it is a vital part of it. Reading the positive feedback from responses from attendees at yesterday’s first CPD session gave the PILS team real encouragement.

“There is a clear appetite among local lawyers for ways to get involved in the fight for climate justice. We are delighted to have created this CPD series for them — and look forward to welcoming even more solicitors and barristers to the sessions in April and May.”

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