AGARPAR, KOLKATA, INDIA - OCTOBER 15 : Unidentified people wade through water logged street due rain as tropical storm Phailin made landfall in India on October 15, 2013 in Agarpara, Kolkata, India.

Climate change is already contributing to the displacement of millions of people worldwide by increasing the frequency and intensity of natural disasters. Proposals for responding to the phenomenon overwhelmingly rely on the State to act, with limited discussion of the role of the courts in interpreting States’ existing obligations under refugee and human rights law. In this seminar we will discuss climate change-related protection claims that have already been brought, with a focus on decisions in the New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal, of which Bruce Burson is a member. We will also discuss the potential scope of European States’ non-refoulment obligations under Articles 3 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, with a particular focus on the ‘predominant cause’ test under Sufi & Elmi v United Kingdom for engaging Article 3 in the context of a humanitarian crisis, and proportionality arguments under Article 8 that draw on per capita emissions data and the acknowledgement under the UNFCCC that European States amongst others have emitted the largest share of historical and current global emissions of greenhouse gases.

The purpose of the seminar is to generate discussion about the potential role that practitioners and the courts can play in helping to shape the legal response to climate change-related displacement, and to share experience from another jurisdiction where climate change-related protection claims are already being raised in court.

Registration is free but participants must secure a place here.

Date and time: 14 November 2013, 18:00 – 20:00

Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
Charles Clore House
17 Russell Square

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