Climate Change Litigation

International course offered by the Faculty of Law of Heidelberg University and the Faculty of Law of Universidad de Chile

Climate change litigation is on a worldwide rise. Lawsuits, primarily brought by NGOs, are aiming at obliging defendants - states or companies - to make more efforts to protect the environment from climate change or to compensate damages suffered because of climate change.

Climate litigation serves as a tool for advocacy, accountability, and shaping policy responses to the climate crisis, highlighting the evolving relationship between science, law, and governance in addressing environmental challenges. This climate change litigation course offers a new perspective to understand the relationship between science and politics in both Europe and Latin America. The course provides participants with an overview of the institutional arrangements (Environmental Courts), legal frameworks (Climate Change Act) and new trends regarding nature as a subject of law (eco-centric scene).

In this course participants will examine, on one hand, the legal basis of actions in International and European Public and Private Law. Particular attention will be given to the German legal system, as many actions regarding climate change issues are brought in this jurisdiction. The course will explore successful cases in Public Law, i.e. cases in which governments were obliged to achieve more ambitious climate targets, and focus on the basis of climate change litigation in Private Law, in particular tort law, company law and fair-trading law. The consequences of these cases for large companies lawsuits are particularly relevant, considering that firms such as German RWE (electricity corporation), Volkswagen or Shell may be compelled to change their business models.

On the other hand, participants will gain valuable insights regarding how Latin American countries tackle climate change. To understand these different approaches to climate change litigation the course will explore the particular legal and institutional frameworks, their socio-economic contexts, political dynamics and international commitments. Additionally, the course will review in Latin American countries the relationship between water regulation and climate change as well as tort law for environmental damage in order to understand how these specific legal settings have approached climate change.

You can download the complete syllabus at the end of this page.



  • This course will take place between June 8th and September 3rd, 2024
  • Classes via Zoom and CANVAS platforms.
  • Classes will be held on Saturdays between 10:00 and 11:30 am (first half of the course) and Tuesdays between 13:30 and 15:00 pm (second half of the course), Chilean time.
  • Application deadline June 5th, 2024

Who can apply ? Target audience

This course is open to graduates in Law, Environmental Studies, Natural Sciences, Geology, and related fields. Public servants, private companies, NGOs, and environmental communities are also welcome to apply.


  • Intermediate English level (reference: B1 / B2 ). No certification is required.
  • Bachelor degree
  • This course is taught in English and Spanish


  • $360.000.- CLP.
  • International currency reference: 380 USD (may vary)

Application process:


    Fill in this application form

  2. Upload your CV
  3. The program coordinator will contact you to confirm your application
  4. Our financial department will send you payment instructions.
  5. You will be notified of your enrollment.

Contact for further questions: