Lawyers Decline to Prosecute Climate Change Activists


Activist lawyers have signed a “declaration of conscience” stating that they will not prosecute groups like Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil for causing “climate injustice” under current law. bottom.

On Thursday, a group called Lawyers Are Responsible decided to refuse to act for new fossil fuel projects or to prosecute members of campaign groups against new fossil fuel projects, such as Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain. issued a declaration of conscience to refuse. , and just stop oil.

Climate change group Just Stop Oil has staged destructive protests, using a willfully law-breaking strategy to call on the UK government to begin the process of phasing out domestic fossil fuel production. I am trying to emphasize that

According to Twitter Attorney Liability It describes itself as a group of “conscientious lawyers who respect the long-standing rules of our profession.”

‘But we also accept the global scientific consensus that climate change is already doing damage and will bring unprecedented levels of damage,’ he said.

annihilation rebellion
Demonstrators take part in the Extinction Rebellion protest at Westminster Bridge in London on April 15, 2022. (Stefan Rousseau/PA Media)

‘Our laws are causing climate injustice’

The 120 lawyers who have signed up to date consist of barristers, solicitors, academics and others.

The signatories included Sir Geoffrey Weindman, chairman of the British Institute for Human Rights; Farhana Yamin, an international environmental lawyer and one of the architects of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change; and a lawyer representing the family of Stephen Lawrence. Including Imran Khan. Jolyon Maugham, founder of the Good Law Project, and his Gresham Professor of Law and Professor Leslie Thomas, director of the Bar Standards Board.

“The signatories to the declaration believe that it is not in the greater good at this time to provide services to support action against new fossil fuel projects or peaceful climate protesters.” written by the group.

“Currently, our laws are setting society on a course that will cause climate injustice, with consequences so disastrous that they will ultimately threaten the rule of law itself. [sic]the undersigned believes they are personally promoting these results,” he added.

The group said that “an important discussion should take place about the role of legal experts when the IPCC issues its ‘final warning’ on the climate crisis.”

cab rack

The news prompted the chairman bar standards committeewhich is the representative body for barristers in England and Wales.

“When self-employed barristers receive instructions from professional clients and the instructions are appropriate given their experience, seniority, and field of practice, they usually ​They are obligated to accept those instructions regardless of their case and any beliefs they may have regarding the client’s character or cause,” the Bar Association wrote.

Legal commentator Tony Dowson told the Epoch Times in an email that the impact could “undermine the trust and faith that the public places in this profession.”

“There are some exceptions to the Cablanc rule, one of which allows the barrister to refuse instructions outside the scope of his practice,” he said.

“Jolyon Maugham is neither a criminal barrister nor a prosecutor, so his declaration of refusing to direct the prosecution of climate change protesters seems like an empty gesture,” Dowson said.

But Dowson said the statement itself “risks undermining the principle that barristers should not be identified with their clients.” I don’t like the case. “

“The impact could be to undermine the trust and confidence that the public places in the profession,” he added.

Just Stop Oil Climate Activists Destroy Buildings
Just Stop Oil demonstrators spray an orange substance on a Jack Barclay Bentley store in Berkeley Square, London, England, October 26, 2022. (Isabel Infantes/Getty Images)

Claims of political activists

Anna Loutfi, a barrister and legal director of the Bad Law Project, told The Epoch Times she was concerned about unilateral political activity in the legal system.

The Bad Law Project was founded by actor and activist Lawrence Fox and family law attorney Sarah Phillimore.

“So when they present an argument, it’s a political activist argument, they say we can interfere with the legal system based on our political views, their political views from the left, but it’s I don’t see it as an attack on the legal system.But I think if someone on the other side of it did the same thing, they would be at very high risk of being disqualified as lawyers,” she said. .

“Many people in this country believe that eco-warriors are criminals, that they are causing criminal damage, and that those they attack want to deal with the damage through criminal courts.

The Epoch Times has reached out to a representative for Jolyon Maugham for comment, saying the attorney is responsible.