PIL Discussion Group, Thursday 27 October 2022: Climate Litigation in International Organs & Courts

Monica Feria-Tinta, Twenty Essex Chambers

Climate Litigation in International Organs and Courts: The Torres Strait Islanders case

Please note that this event will be hybrid, with in-person and online joining options.

To join (whether in person or online), please complete the Registration Form by 5:30pm on Wednesday 26 October. Please note that if you register for online attendance after this time, a Zoom link may not be sent to you.

Abstract: In a landmark decision issued on 22 September 2022, the UN Human Rights Committee found that Australia’s failure to adequately protect indigenous Torres Strait Islanders against adverse impacts of climate change was a breach of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This was the first legal action brought by climate-vulnerable inhabitants of low-lying islands against a Sovereign state and the first international case on climate change to be decided on the merits. The decision has set several ground-breaking precedents for international human rights law and climate justice. This decision has set a number of important precedents which confirm the justiciability of climate change adverse impacts before international human rights organs. This session explores the key features of the case and assesses its significance.

Speaker: Monica Feria-Tinta is a barrister at Twenty Essex, a public international law specialist acting in international courts and tribunals as well as in English Courts. Her practice in public international law is substantial and covers the full spectrum in the field. She has developed particular specialism in climate change litigation having advised Sovereign States on the feasibility of an Advisory Opinion on climate change before the ICJ and ITLOS. She was counsel in the first international climate change case brought by inhabitants of low-lying islands before the UN Human Rights Committee, the Torres Strait Islanders case, a ground-breaking case, recently decided by the Committee. In recent years she has been active in cases raising sea-level rise issues, sinking islands, environmental degradation, oil spills, transboundary harm, climate change as a human right issue, environmental harm of waterways, protection of rivers, biodiversity, phasing-out coal mining cases and the enforcement of the Paris Agreement before a variety of international organs. Her experience includes advising a State Party representative of a Least Developed Country in the drafting of the Rules of Procedure of Compliance with the Paris Agreement. She is a guest lecture at the BCIIL Climate Change litigation course and is a former Visiting Fellow at Jesus College, University of Cambridge. She is a graduate from the LSE and recipient of the Hague Academy Diploma of International Law. Monica was Barrister of the Year finalist at the Lawyers’ Awards 2020.

The Public International Law Discussion Group at the University of Oxford is a key focal point for PIL at Oxford and hosts regular speaker events. Topics involve contemporary and challenging issues in international law. Speakers include distinguished international law practitioners, academics, and legal advisers from around the world.

The Discussion Group's meetings are part of the programme of the British Branch of the International Law Association and are supported by the Law Faculty and Oxford University Press.

The speaker will commence at 12:45pm UK time and speak for around forty minutes, allowing about twenty-five minutes for questions and discussion. The meeting should conclude by 2pm UK time.

Practitioners, academics and students from within and outside the University of Oxford are all welcome.



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1. Rising tides in climate change litigation: the case of the Torres Strait Islanders at the UN Human Rights Committee Please see the event page for full details: https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/content/ev