The NGO ClientEarth (a shareholder in Shell) has today (9th February 2023) filed a world-first lawsuit against the Board of Directors of Shell plc for failing to manage the material and foreseeable risks posed to the company by climate change.
The lawsuit alleges Shell’s 11 directors have breached their legal duties under the UK Companies Act by failing to adopt and implement an energy transition strategy that aligns with the Paris Agreement.
ClientEarth’s claim is filed in the High Court of England and Wales and is supported by a group of institutional investors collectively holding more than 12 million shares in the company, and more than half a trillion US dollars (£450 billion) in total assets under management (AUM).
In May 2021, a Dutch court ordered a net 45% reduction in group-wide emissions by the end of the 2020s. Shell has appealed the judgement, ClientEarth also alleges that the Board’s failure to fully comply with the Dutch Court’s judgment is an additional breach of its legal duties.
ClientEarth is represented by London litigation firm Pallas Partners, and is asking the High Court for an Order which requires the Shell Board to adopt a strategy to manage climate risk in line with its duties under the Companies Act, and in compliance with the Dutch Court judgment. The High Court will decide whether to grant ClientEarth permission to bring the claim.
The ClientEarth press release is here. It also has a link to FAQs.