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  • Dr. Stefanie Lemke

Should lawyers care about environmental justice?

Should lawyers care about human rights when advising corporate clients, discussing with them the long-term risks of their environmental operations? I say yes! The case of the oil giant Chevron has shown that some lawyers still need to learn their lesson. The US lawyer Steven Donziger found himself disbarred and under house arrest after defending, together with human rights NGOs, about 30,000 residents from the Amazonas region against Chevron. Last month, Mr. Donziger’s story featured in the Guardian to mark his 600th day under house arrest. Suffering from serious diseases caused by Chevron's contamination, local courts sentenced Chevron to pay damages worth US$ 9.5 billion to the residents. Chevron’s legal team then decided to jeopardize its client's reputation, using delay tactics to block claims. They also turned against Mr. Donziger, launching legal action against him in the US.

Interested in learning more about how lawyers could lead the way to rights-sensitive, responsible business practices and become champions of 'business and human rights'? Check my article which was published by the Business and Human Rights Journal (Cambridge University Press), here.


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