On Friday 18 May the Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre (QMLAC) hosted its first panel event of the year to discuss climate change challenges in the legal field.
After sending out a poll to QMLAC students to find out what they were interested in hearing more about, the topic of Corporate Legal Responsibility and Climate Change was requested.
Climate change challenges present organisations, communities, and citizens with the need to redefine current views on corporate social responsibility (CSR) from being a voluntary luxury to being seen as a necessity. The crucial role the law plays in this cannot be understated. This panel sought to recognise lawyers’ responsibilities in alleviating climate change, whilst exploring competing concerns such as the rule of law and shareholder supremacy.
With the assistance of David Whyte and Sir Robin Knowles we were able to plan a power packed panel event with a number of leading practitioners and academics working in this developing area of law. The event was chaired by Sir Robin Knowles, who is a Patron of the Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre.
Following brief introductions made by Matthew Evans, Sir Robin Knowles led the panel with pre-set scenarios. A number of excellent and thought-provoking responses were given. The passion was not only evident from the panel but also from attendees online and in person who engaged enthusiastically with the discussion.
We had a small drinks reception after the panel discussion concluded. We’re delighted that the conversation continued just as ardently.
We would just like to specially thank our panel who made this event possible and enjoyable.
Sir Robin Knowles is the judge with day-to-day responsibility for the Standing International Forum of Commercial Courts and is a board member of the Financial Markets Law Committee. Sir Robin was awarded the CBE in 2007 for service to pro bono legal services and is a patron of QMLAC.
Ida Levine is on the Board of the Impact Investing Institute and a principal with Two Rivers Associates Limited consulting on public policy, strategy and governance. She is a member of the Financial Markets Law Committee and has a lifetime of experience in banking, investment and law and was a founding Director of the UK Investor Forum.
Sir William Blair served as a High Court Judge for 10 years and was Judge in charge of London’s Commercial Court for a number of years. Sir William is Professor of Financial Law and Ethics at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, here at Queen Mary, is a high level arbitrator, and chairs the Law and Ethics in Finance Project, an informal group concerned with raising standards in the financial sector.
Monika Sobieka is a barrister and partner at Bindmans in the Media and Information team. Monika is on the steering group of Lawyers are Responsible and is also a current student here at Queen Mary completing an LLM in Technology, Media and Telecommunications Law.
Alex Rhodes is a partner and Head of Mishcon Purpose. He provides strategic Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) advice (and litigation expertise) to typically international clients including governments and global leaders in their efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. Amongst many other things he was also the founding CEO of the charity Stop Ivory.
Jodie Blackstock is also on the steering group of Lawyers are Responsible and is a Barrister at Garden Court Chambers, where she specialises in public law and human rights. Jodie has extensive experience in justice system reform through policy, research and strategic litigation and was previously Legal Director at JUSTICE.
Professor David Whyte who has been Director of the Centre for Climate Crime and Climate Justice here at Queen Mary since 2022. As well as teaching modules on ‘Climate Justice’ and ‘Researching Powerful Organisations,’ his research interests focus on the relationship between law and corporate power. In 2020 he wrote Ecocide: kill the corporation before it kills us.