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Published on Sep 18, 2015
In the run up to the climate change negotiations in Paris this December, Professor Philippe Sands QC delivered a public lecture at the UK Supreme Court focusing on the role of international law and judges in addressing legal issues relating to climate change.
Professor Sands considered some of the key challenges, including (i) the limited number of actions taken by States as international legislature, (ii) the limits of the judicial function in interpreting and applying the law and not acting as a legislature, (iii) issues of scientific uncertainty, (iv) problems of evidence and expertise, and (v) the interrelationship of environmental, economic, social and other factors inherent in issues related to climate change.
The evening was introduced by Lord Carnwath, Justice of the UK Supreme Court and member of the International Advisory Council for Environmental Justice of UNEP. After the lecture, discussion was introduced by comments from Professor James Crawford, Judge of the International Court of Justice, and Professor Lavanya Rajamani, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi.
This lecture was part of a three-day symposium on climate change and the rule of law hosted by the Dickson Poon School of Law, The Supreme Court and HM Government. The symposium brought together leading judges, practitioners and academics from across the globe to consider the ways in which climate change permeates, disrupts and shapes processes of adjudication.