Portuguese climate case before the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR

Portuguese climate case before the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR
Photo by Valerio Donfrancesco via flickr


Agori Michopoulou

International Justice and Human Rights Researcher

Global Human Rights Defence

 In recent years, more and more climate cases are brought before the Courts across the world. One important case that has been brought before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)  is the Duarte Aughostino and Others v. Portugal and 32 other countries. In that claim six young people from Portugal pointed out that the respondent states have violated human rights by failing to take action on climate change. They have based their claim on the violation of Articles 2, 8 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). One of the claimants, the 23 years old Claudia Duarte Agostinho has witnessed the deadliest disaster in Portuguese history in 2017 by wildfires that due to climate change can begin suddenly and devastate people’s lives and forests. This is the reason why she and five other young people brought the case before the ECtHR, which is also supported by a legal non-profit organization which is run by Irish lawyers. 

According to them there is a need for a climate case to have an impact across Europe and that is the reason why they have brought this case before the ECtHR. States’ omissions to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, violate youth applicants’ rights. The Court from the first moment gave great importance to that case and recently relinquished jurisdiction and allocated it to the Grand Chamber, where only 22 cases are pending from all the 70.000 cases before the ECtHR. Currently lawyers and claimants hope that the Court in Strasbourg will recognise the negative impacts of climate change in the young generation and its future consequences. Such a decision will have far reaching effects in climate change litigation that will influence the climate cases around the world and hopefully will contribute to the mitigation of climate change.

Sources and further reading:

Aisling Moloney. (2022, August 23). Irish Lawyers represent Portuguese climate case at ECHR. Ireland’s National Public Service Media. Retrieved on August 29, 2022 from https://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2022/0823/1318257-climate-case/

Duarte Agostinho and Others v. Portugal and 32 Other States. Climate Change Litigation Databases. Retrieved on August 29, 2022 from http://climatecasechart.com/non-us-case/youth-for-climate-justice-v-austria-et-al/