For the first time, a company responsible for climate change faces legal charges in Europe: Today, the Peruvian farmer and mountain guide Saúl Luciano Lliuya is filing a lawsuit against the German utility RWE at the Regional Court in Essen, Germany. The reason: The energy company’s immense emissions threaten his family, his property as well as a large part of his home city of Huaraz.
Note: This page is outdated and is no longer updated regularly. Please have a look at our new website on the RWE case. There you will find all relevant background information, legal justifications and ways to support Saúl and the case.
The "RWE Case" at a glance:
2022: After a long delay, the court hearing in the Andean city of Huaraz took place in May. Judges of the Higher Regional Court (OLG) of Hamm, legal advisors and experts travelled to Peru to check whether the plaintiff's house is actually threatened by a possible flood wave from the Palcacocha glacial lake above the city.
2020: Unfortunately, the taking of evidence in Huaraz will be further delayed due to the Corona-crisis and resulting travel restrictions.
2019: On the recommendation of the experts, the Higher Regional Court of Hamm has made a request to the State of Peru to be allowed to inspect the premises that are the subject of the lawsuit. The Court is at present awaiting response from the competent authorities, which can take quite some time to process.
September 2018: The experts selected by the Higher Regional Court of Hamm accept their appointment. They will provide an opinion on the question of wether or not there is a serious threat of impairment to the plaintiff‘s property. If this question is answered positively, there will be taking of evidence with regards to the defendant‘s part of responsibility for this impairment due to RWE‘s CO₂ emissions.
July 2018: Since plaintiff and defendant cannot agree on experts for the taking of evidence, the Higher Regional Court of Hamm announces that it will select them itself.
25.02.2018 and 14.03.2018: The Higher Regional Court of Hamm clearly rejects two statements of objection filed by RWE’s lawyers against the Court’s Order for the Hearing of Evidence and states once again: climate damages can give rise to corporate liability.
30.11.2017: The Higher Regional Court Hamm announces its decision to enter into the evidentiary stage thereby writing legal history.
13.11.2017: The appeal at the Higher District Court Hamm is scheduled as an oral hearing.
26.01.2017: Saúl Luciano Lliuya files an appeal before the Higher Regional Court Hamm against the negative ruling of the Regional Court Essen.
15.12.2016: The District Court Essen dismisses the civil lawsuit against RWE.
24.11.2016: The first oral hearing takes place amid great national and international interest – the decision was adjourned.
June 2016: In its statement of defence, RWE disputes its own responsibility for climate change induced damage in the Andes and denies that Huaraz even faces a risk of flooding.
24.11.2015: Saúl Luciano Lliuya files the lawsuit, which is classified by the District Court Essen as "a legal matter with fundamental significance".
The environmental and development organisation Germanwatch points out that fossil fuel companies will have to disclose climate risks in their risk reports and have them externally audited. The reason for this is a new study by a team of researchers from the renowned London School of Economics and Political Science, which shows a clear connection between climate litigation and share price losses of affected companies.
More than 50,000 inhabitants of the Andean city of Huaraz are threatened by a flood wave due to global warming. The Andean farmer and mountain guide Saúl Luciano Lliuya decided to take action: On 24 November 2015, he filed a lawsuit against the energy company RWE in a German civil court. One year after the court visit to Huaraz, the expert report will finally be available this summer. A hearing at the Higher Regional Court of Hamm is expected later this year.
The climate lawsuit of the Peruvian Andean farmer and mountain guide Saúl Luciano Lliuya against the energy company RWE has entered the decisive phase six and a half years after the lawsuit was filed: After a long delay, especially due to the Corona pandemic, a site visit took place this week in the Andean city of Huaraz. Judges of the Higher Regional Court (OLG) of Hamm (Germany), legal advisors and experts travelled to Peru to examine whether the plaintiff's house is threatened by a possible flood wave from the glacier lake Palcacocha above the city. The entire danger zone in Huaraz actually covers an area where around 50,000 people live.
"I am happy to have become active and it overwhelms me how much interest and support I have received in my country and around the world. This gives me the courage and strength to move forward. Climate change affects all countries in the world. Therefore we have to stand up for justice."
- Saúl Luciano Lliuya, 21.03.2015