United Kingdom

Historically, the United Kingdom has been regarded as a leader in climate legislation, as exemplified by the commitments set out in the 2008 Climate Change Act. In 2019, the UK was the first major economy to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming by 2050, setting the precedent for climate change to be engrained as a key part of the government agenda. With climate action reflected in the government agenda, developments in climate law continue to help the UK deliver its climate commitments.

The below sections map the intersections between various types of UK  and climate change. The UK Law and Climate Atlas was developed by the Centre for Climate Engagement at Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge in collaboration with the Net Zero Lawyers Alliance.

Administrative Law and Climate Change

Public bodies and decision makers now have climate-related obligations and may face judicial review if they fail to meet them. More →

Commercial Arbitration and Climate Change

Climate change issues are now directly and indirectly relevant to international commercial arbitration. More →

Company Law and Climate Change

Companies have a key role to play in the net zero transition, and are subject to a growing number of legal requirements related to climate change. More →

Competition Law and Climate Change

Businesses must collaborate to tackle the climate crisis, but this can raise competition law concerns. More →

Contract Law and Climate Change

Contracts let a wide range of actors create legally binding climate commitments without waiting for legislation or litigation. More →

Criminal Law and Climate Change

Both climate activists and greenhouse gas emitters may need to worry about criminal law. More →

Employment Law and Climate Change

The net zero transition is changing workplaces, creating climate-related employment law issues. More →

Environmental Law and Climate Change

Climate change is linked to many other environmental issues and the legal regimes that aim to address them. More →

European Union Law and Climate Change

The European Union has many important climate laws which remain relevant to the UK. More →

Financial Law and Climate Change

Many new laws and regulations aim to use the financial system to drive emissions reductions. More →

Human Rights Law and Climate Change

Human rights are closely linked to climate change, creating challenges and opportunities for human rights law regimes. More →

Immigration Law and Climate Change

Climate change will drive migration, which immigration law must facilitate. More →

Insurance Law and Climate Change

Insurance is crucial to managing climate risks, and may even play a role in reducing emissions. More →

Intellectual Property Law and Climate Change

Intellectual property law is highly relevant to the many new products and technologies that address climate change. More →

Planning Law and Climate Change

Planning law can be leveraged to ensure low-carbon development and accelerate the deployment of green infrastructure. More →

Property Law and Climate Change

Legal mechanisms may help buyers, sellers, and renters address climate change. More →

Public Health Law and Climate Change

The law is increasingly recognising climate change as a significant public health issue. More →

Public International Law and Climate Change

A new international law regime has emerged to address climate change, and the climate crisis is closely intertwined with many other areas of international law. More →

Tax Law and Climate Change

Fiscal policy is an important tool for tackling climate change, and the net zero transition is creating many legal changes in this area. More →

Tort Law and Climate Change

There have been many efforts to address damage from climate change using tort law but claims often struggle to fit climate impacts into traditional tort law principles. More →

Trade Law and Climate Change

Trade mechanisms are becoming a central aspect of international climate policy and diplomacy. More →