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Court ruling erodes climate activists’ ability to defend themselves – as the planet heats up

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Guardian or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: The Court of Appeal in England and Wales ruled against the "consent" defense for climate protesters charged with criminal damage, a move that significantly impacts activists' ability to defend their actions in court 
• This defense previously allowed defendants to argue that property owners would consent to damage if aware of the climate crisis context

🔭 The context: The "consent" defense, effective since 1971, was successfully used in recent trials by climate activists  
• However, following several not guilty verdicts, the attorney general sought clarity on the law, leading to this pivotal court decision that disallows the climate crisis as a lawful excuse for criminal damage

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: This court ruling reflects the growing tensions between legal frameworks and climate activism 
• As activists push for urgent action on global warming, this decision narrows their legal defenses, potentially cooling public demonstrations and direct actions crucial for raising awareness on climate issues

⏭️ What's next: This decision marks a further restriction on climate protests in England and Wales, following previous legal challenges against the right to protest 
• It signifies an increasing legal crackdown on climate activism, raising concerns about the impact on freedom of expression and the broader climate movement

💬 One quote: "Motivations, beliefs, political or philosophical views were too 'remote from the damage' to provide a lawful excuse defence," (Sue Carr, Lady Chief Justice)

Click for more news covering the latest on climate change

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