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Is the ECtHR's ruling against Switzerland a blueprint for future climate cases?

The European Court of Human Rights recently ruled in favour of a group of older Swiss women. The issued concerned the health of senior citizens, especially women, who experienced symptoms as a result of climate change. They claimed that the Swiss Government should have taken more climate action, as Dutch regional newspaper ‘Leidsch Dagblad’ reports.

The European Court accepts that protection against the effects of climate change is a human right. Rick Lawson, Professor of European Law, ‘believes that the most important part of the decision is that the ruling confirms the Urgenda Case at our Supreme Court.’ He adds in Leidsch Dagblad that this climate case against the Dutch state has become famous across the globe and inspires other national and international organisations.

Lawson ‘does not expect a surge in new climate cases against government authorities, since previous rulings have clarified what states have to comply with.’ But he does expect that climate activism will focus more on individual companies, such as the lawsuit brought by Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands) against Shell. In view of the ruling made this week by the ECtHR, courts in future cases will have to factor in potential threats to human rights caused by climate change to a greater extent.

More information

Read the whole article in Leidsch Dagblad (in Dutch, €)

Photo: Li-An Lim through Unsplash

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