The Just Stop Oil, Extinction Rebellion, and Insulate Britain movements are examples of peaceful climate protesters who have signed a Declaration of Conscience in England, stating that they will not cooperate in the prosecution of these movements.
Lawyers are Responsible, a group of roughly 120 attorneys, will also decline to represent those taking part in new fossil fuel projects.
The fossil fuel business, like big tobacco, has understood for decades what its actions mean. They refer to the loss of property and human life that the civil law ought to avoid but does not, One of the principal signatories of the declaration, Jolyon Maugham, Director of the Good Law Project, wrote about it in The Guardian.
According to scientific evidence, a large number of people will die as a result of global warming, which is a natural and unavoidable result of human activity. This should be punished under the law, yet it is not. Moreover, the crime of ecocide is not recognized by the law as a way to stop global warming. The fossil fuel sector benefits from the law, but we do not.
In order to address the causes and effects of the ecological and climate crises and to advance a just transition to sustainability, the Declaration of Conscience calls on attorneys and the government to take urgent action.
According to the IPCC, maintaining current emissions control measures will result in a projected 3.2 C increase in global warming this century. We are witnessing a global calamity. The UK needs to invest in alternatives much faster than we are and withdraw from fossil fuels. According to a news release from environmental legal group Plan B, one of the drafters of the declaration, Matt Hutchings, it is essential that everyone, including attorneys, does what they can to make this happen.
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According to The Guardian, the attorneys who signed the document have been accused of undercutting the legal precept that everyone has a right to fair and impartial legal representation.
The cab rank rule, which requires a lawyer to accept employment in any profession for which they are accessible and competent, would be broken if one were to act in accordance with the document’s principles.
Leslie Thomas, a Gresham Professor of Law, told the Daily Mail that the cab rank rule does not restrict barristers from advocating for causes they support or expressing their thoughts. By signing the [declaration], I do not indicate that I disagree with the cab rank rule or that I would decline to carry out any instructions from a client that conforms to it. It simply means that I support lawyers’ rights to speak out against new fossil fuel projects and to stand up for individuals who peacefully oppose them.
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According to The Guardian, lawyers who break the risk of the restriction being penalized as well as having their applications to join the judiciary or receive the king’s counsel silk denied.
Young attorneys are being put in a hopeless situation. Our companies and authorities are telling us that it is our professional duty to support fossil fuel projects, despite the fact that doing so will harm both our own future and all life on Earth. That is incorrect on all counts. It is unjustifiable. How can the profession hope to thrive if it doesn’t look out for my generation? According to the press release, a young attorney who desired to remain nameless made the statement.
The declaration was organized by Plan B and the political organization the Good Law Project, and according to The Guardian, it is the first occasion for lawyers to take part in a group act of civil disobedience.
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The average citizens of this nation are the ones being prosecuted and imprisoned by the British judicial system for speaking out against this greed and destruction, even if they were only discussing the climate catastrophe and fuel poverty. The legal system has been completely dismantled. Attorneys are in charge. Tim Crosland, director of Plan B, stated in the press release that it was time to make a statement.
According to Plan B, the declaration would be read out at noon on March 29 in front of the Royal Courts of Justice in London.