Skip to main content
KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico

TLI Focus Seminar Series: Poisoned Air: Are Courts the Antidote?

Somerset House East Wing, Strand Campus, London

6 Mar
TLI Focus Main 780x450
(Lens focuses)
Part of Transnational Law Institute: Focus Seminar Series

TLI Focus Seminar Series 2019 - 2020

Poisoned Air: Are Courts the Antidote?

The Transnational Law Institute at King’s College London (TLI) invites faculty and students at King’s and beyond for a new, interdisciplinary seminar series. The TLI Focus Seminars explore ‘hot button’ issues as well as long-standing challenges in law and regulatory governance. A particular emphasis lies on exploring law’s relationship to, its engagement with and its impact on social developments. The Seminars are held as Roundtables with opening statements by the conveners, followed by an open discussion. Selected advance readings are made available.

The major cities of the world are becoming increasingly poisonous places to live with air pollution levels well exceeding legal limits. No more powerfully is this demonstrated than with Michael Pinksky’s art installation Pollution Pods, a series of five geodesic domes that replicate the atmospheric conditions of four polluted cities from around the world contrasted with the pure, filtered air of a Norwegian costal town. When the piece was installed in Somerset House in 2018, health and safety officers for the building were reluctant to allow members of the public to enter the instillation for fear of the health consequences of doing so, seemingly without any sense of irony that members of the public were already breathing the illegally polluted air of central London. And yet, despite the well documented effects of pollution on human health and mortality, governments have been slow to combat air quality problems.

As a result, concerned citizens across the globe have been turning to courts in an effort to force governments to improve air quality. ClientEarth has won three well documented victories in respect of air pollution levels in UK cities, a mother and daughter team won a case against the French government for its failure limit air pollution in Paris and in November 2019 the Supreme Court of India issued a landmark decision holding federal and local governments for failing to control crop burning in Delhi and its surrounding states, an activity that significantly contributes to the suffocation of city dwellers. In this afternoon workshop we will examine the role that courts are playing in improving the quality of air that we breathe.


14:00-15:30: Campaigns and Court Cases
Malini Mehra FRSA, Chief Executive, GLOBE International
Ugo Taddei, Clean Air Lead, Client Earth
Rimmel Mohydin, Pakistan/South Asia Campaigner Amnesty International

15:45-17:00: Landmark Judgments and their Limitations
Dr Anuj Bhuwania, Associate Professor, Ambedkar University Delhi
Professor Chris Hilson, Professor of Law, University of Reading
Professor Eloise Scotford, UCL (TBC)

Convener: Emily Barritt (Transnational Law Institute, King’s College London)


This event is open to the public and everybody is welcome to attend, though everyone must register.

Seats are allocated on a strictly first come, first served basis.

If you find you can no longer attend please cancel your ticket registration, so that someone else can have your place.

At this event

Emily Barritt

Emily Barritt

Lecturer in Tort Law

Search for another event