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International environmental law

Our international environmental law work includes cases concerning land rights, corporate responsibility, oil exploration, drilling and defending environmental rights defenders. At the heart of our work is protecting the rights of present and future generations to a clean and healthy environment. Our practice team in this area is led by Joint Head of Chambers, Marc Willers QC.

What we do

We provide expert litigation advice and representation, covering all aspects of environmental law including:

  • Enforcing legally binding provisions under the Paris Agreement
  • Nature conservation
  • Preservation of land rights against state and corporate enterprises
  • Habitats including marine ecology
  • Air pollution
  • Sustainability
  • Energy supply and exploration such as shale gas extraction or ‘fracking’
  • Nuclear and toxic waste disposal

Garden Court’s commitment to the protection of the environment is long-standing. We previously worked on high-profile matters including the THORP reprocessing plant inquiry and the NIREX nuclear waste dump inquiry.

Recent significant cases include legal action taken against the Government of Antigua & Barbuda on behalf of Barbudans affected by and opposed to the destruction of ancient forests, rare wildlife and sensitive ecosystems associated with the construction of an international airport on Barbuda. The legal action resulted in an interim injunction granted by the High Court of Antigua & Barbuda, which halted all construction on the airport.

We have advised on challenging planning permission for fracking and filed a lawsuit in Norway to invalidate licences for oil and gas drilling in the Arctic.

Through the Global Legal Action Network, our barristers are pursuing a high profile legal challenge to the European Court of Human Rights against the governments of Europe over their failure to cut green house gas emissions.

Our barrister, Richard Harvey, is currently a consultant to Greenpeace International, assisting them with carrying out their environmental mission around the world.

Our casework regularly crosses over with criminal and regulatory law. For example, our barristers have considerable experience defending environmental campaigners in criminal proceedings.

Garden Court is a member of the UK’s Environmental Law Foundation.

Who we work for

Our environmental law barristers regularly work with:

  • Grassroots campaigners
  • High-profile charities
  • International and domestic NGOs
  • Environmental campaigners
  • Aggrieved individuals


We have worked on a range of cases involving environmental issues, including:

Greenpeace India
Garden Court has been engaged in six cases in the Indian High Courts to defend Greenpeace India’s right to freedom of expression.  We have been successful in each case.

Oil and gas drilling licences in Norway
In Norway, we are working on a lawsuit filed 18 October 2016, challenging the government’s grant of oil and gas licenses to 13 companies planning to drill in the dangerous and ecologically fragile Arctic.

KK & ors v AML (England & Wales High Court)
Garden Court Chambers is representing 142 villagers who live near a large iron ore mine in West Africa. The claimants are seeking damages for personal injury, death and other damage allegedly caused by the actions and negligence of African Minerals Ltd, the British company that owns the mine.

Coal expansion in Turkey
The Turkish government is planning over 60 new coal fired power stations, claiming that “energy security” makes it unnecessary to conduct environmental impact assessments, as required by international environmental law.  We are working on an amicus brief in support of a recent constitutional law challenge to this extreme threat to the health of people in Turkey and neighbouring states.

Legal Response Initiative
We have worked with the Legal Response Initiative to advise developing nations and charities on the UN Climate Change negotiations and the enforcement of the resulting Paris Agreement. The Legal Response Initiative provides legal support to poor and climate-vulnerable developing countries – on public international law issues encompassing environmental law, treaty law and human rights law.