Suing Corporations for Climate Change: The Promises and Pitfalls of Tort Law: A Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship held by Dr Ekaterina Aristova, from 2022 to 2025.

Who should pay for climate change? In recent years, we have witnessed pressure on states to uphold their national and international commitments, including under the 2015 Paris Agreement. More recently, environmental activists have increasingly prioritised litigation as a strategic means for establishing both public and private responsibility for climate-related harm. New developments in climate science have been deployed by lawyers to demonstrate a causal link between the transboundary release of greenhouse gases and adverse climate impacts and, ultimately, to hold fossil fuel companies responsible for injuries caused by coastal erosion, rising sea levels, global warming, and the melting of Arctic ice.

Corporate climate litigation is emerging at a fast pace, cases are spreading geographically in jurisdictions that have not been the focus of close academic attention before, and the variety of legal strategies and types of climate-related cases is impressive. Using tort-based litigation as a case study, the project critically examines how legal doctrines are evolving to hold corporations accountable for the climate change impacts of their operations. The research involves an in-depth analysis of high-profile lawsuits from multiple jurisdictions to explore normative foundations for the development of new corporate duties and evaluate the theoretical and practical significance of human rights discourse for climate change governance.

Project Outcomes



  • ‘The Human Right to a Clean, Healthy & Sustainable Environment: Implications for Business’, April 2022, two inter-connected webinars co-hosted by the Bonavero Institute, the Cluster on Corporate Citizenship at Macquarie University, Sydney, and the Office of the High Commissioner for the Pacific (webinar 1 and webinar 2).

In-person workshop

Dissemination of research

  • 9 April 2024, In-person lecture ‘Evolution of Corporate Duty of Care in Strategic Human Rights and Environmental Litigation’ hosted by the RMIT University, Australia.
  • 8 April 2024, In-person lecture ‘Corporate Climate Litigation: Insights, Trends and Comparative Lessons’ hosted by Melbourne Law School, Australia.
  • 4 April 2024, In-person lecture 'Evolution of Corporate Duty of Care in Strategic Human Rights and Environmental Litigation' hosted by Tasmanian Law School, Australia.
  • 14 February 2023, In-person presentation ‘Trends and Future Research in Business and Human Rights Litigation’ at the event organised by Oxford Business and Human Rights Network, UK.
  •  12 October 2023, In-person presentation ‘Climate Change on the Board: Navigating Directors’ Duties’, sat the seminar organised by Oxford Sustainable Law Programme, UK.
  • 12 May 2023, Online presentation ‘Greenwashing Climate Change Litigation’ at the workshop organised by the Centre for Climate Law and Sustainability Studies in Prague, Czech Republic.
  • 5 May 2023, In-person presentation ‘Conceptualising Corporate Climate Change Responsibilities under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises’ at the workshop on OECD case law in Erlangen, Germany.
  • 29 March 2023, In-person presentation ‘The changing landscape of corporate accountability’ at business breakfast organised by ‘Women in Sustainability’ network in London.
  • 21 March 2023, In-person presentation ‘Mapping Climate Change Litigation against Corporations’ at the expert roundtable ‘Climate Change, Business and Human Rights Roundtable’ organised by the University of Nottingham.
  • 25 January 2023, In-person presentation ‘Holding Multinational Enterprises Accountable: Impact of Strategic Litigation’ for Oxford Business and Human Rights Network.
  • 24 November 2022, Online presentation ‘Holding Corporations Accountable. Impact of Jurisprudence and Non-judicial Mechanisms’ at the webinar organised by CEE&CA Summer Academy on Human Rights and Business.
  • 22 November 2022, Online seminar ‘Human Rights Litigation against Transnational Corporations: The Role of Civil Remedies’ for the Asian Private International Law Academy.