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09-10-2019

Extinction Rebellion lawyers descend on legal London

Environmental group’s legally-minded supporters brought along a real life Lady Justice

Image credit: Twitter @kingofthek0p

The legal arm of the environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion descended on the Royal Courts of Justice this afternoon in protest over climate change.

Lawyers for Extinction Rebellion, a group for lawyers, legal professionals and law students interested in climate change activism, gathered outside the capital’s historic court, calling for the profession to “step up and take a positive role in tackling the biggest challenge facing our planet.”

The group, holding a giant pink banner demanding ‘Justice for All’, distributed copies of their lawyers’ declaration complete with the eye-catching pink ribbon which is often seen wrapped around barristers’ briefs.

The declaration — which can be read in full here — argues, among other things, that the legal system is as a “key contributor” to the environmental “crisis”. Lady Justice herself even made an appearance.

Demonstrators stressed that the action was a non-violent form of civil disobedience, and as Public Law Project lawyer Katy Watts tweeted, getting arrested was not on the agenda.

Still, there was a strong police presence outside the RCJ.

And security was also stepped up around Temple.

The protesters persevered, however, and posted their declaration on the doors of Middle Temple and Inner Temple.

There was also what appeared to be a brief stand-off between protestors and Temple security.

The protest is one of a number of demonstrations taking place this week across London as part of Extinction Rebellion’s International Rebellion campaign. Speaking to Legal Cheek about today’s action, legal consultant and Lawyers for Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Ben Metz said:

“The purpose of this action is to raise awareness of both the failure and the incredible opportunities the legal profession has in the climate and ecological emergency. We hope to inspire the hearts of the members of the legal profession, in a friendly and very accessible way, while having fun at the same time.”

This isn’t the first time that the Royal Courts of Justice, which houses the High Court and Court of Appeal of England and Wales, has been targeted by Extinction Rebellion. In July, the environmental group parked a blue boat, emblazoned with the message “Act Now!”, outside the building’s main entrance.

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