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Net Zero II: We are taking the Government back to court

Good Law Project is taking legal action with Friends of the Earth and ClientEarth for the second time to ensure the Government tackles the climate crisis.

We’re now in the crucial decade to stop irreversible damage from global heating, but our Government still hasn’t produced a realistic plan to tackle the climate emergency. 

Last year, we teamed up with Friends of the Earth and ClientEarth, and went to the High Court to successfully force the Government to rewrite its woefully inadequate net zero strategy.

But the plan that Ministers came back with – the Carbon Budget Delivery Plan – still isn’t up to scratch. 

The independent Climate Change Committee recently concluded that the Government has lost leadership on climate action and made decisions that were “utterly unacceptable”. The CCC thinks that the UK is failing to hit its climate targets on almost every front. 

Alarm bells should be ringing across Whitehall. Having a serious plan to tackle the climate crisis cannot wait. And it’s not just our planet at stake, but also our economy, energy security and ability to compete on the global stage when it comes to developing green infrastructure and technologies.

It’s vital that we can all see if the Government’s flagship plan for tackling the climate emergency is actually going to work. So it is deeply alarming that the Government’s new plan does not properly set out the risks of key policies missing these essential climate goals.

We’re joining forces with Friends of the Earth and Client Earth again to launch a multipronged legal challenge against the Government over its new net zero strategy.

In last year’s landmark judgment, the High Court ruled that the Government’s original net zero strategy didn’t meet the Government’s obligations under the Climate Change Act to produce detailed climate policies that show how the UK’s legally binding carbon budgets will be met.

That judgment compelled the Government to publish a new net zero strategy – the Carbon Budget Delivery Plan – with the detail necessary for public and Parliamentary scrutiny. 

But, after carefully studying the new plan, lawyers for Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth and Good Law Project all think this revised plan breaches the Climate Change Act too. And so, alongside Friends of the Earth and ClientEarth, we are again taking the Government to court.

Good Law Project’s legal challenge focuses on the Government’s failure to include a proper assessment of the delivery risks associated with the policies and proposals in the Carbon Budget Delivery Plan.

We believe that this is unlawful because it is a breach of section 14 of the Climate Change Act 2008, which requires the Secretary of State to publish sufficient information to allow meaningful scrutiny of the government’s net zero policies.

We want to help the public and Parliament to hold the Government to account on its new climate change strategy and to stop Ministers from hiding vital information. 

To bring this legal challenge, we need your help. If you are able to support us, you can do so here.

The details:

  • Good Law Practice has instructed Jason Coppel KC and Peter Lockley at 11 KBW.
  • Good Law Practice is an independent law firm launched in 2022 by Good Law Project. It supports Good Law Project, and its partners, to bring strategic litigation in the public interest.
  • We are raising money to cover our legal costs. We have applied for a costs cap in order to limit the risk of adverse costs if the challenge is not successful. Our legal team are acting at significantly reduced rates.
  • Read our Pre-Action Protocol (PAP) letter to the Government here;
  • 10% of the sums raised will go to Good Law Project so that we can continue to use the law for a better world. It is our policy to only raise sums that we reasonably anticipate could be spent on this litigation.
  • If for some reason we don’t spend all the money raised on this case, for instance if the Government backs down or we win, the donations will go towards supporting other litigation we bring to protect the environment. 


Why we need your support

Good Law Project only exists thanks to donations from people across the UK. We are incredibly grateful to all of our supporters, without whom our work would not be possible.

Every single penny that we receive makes a huge difference to our ability to hold those in power to account and demand a better, fairer future.

If you’re in a position to support our work, you can do so here. Thank you

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