The Climate Case: Saúl versus RWE
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Note: This page is outdated and is no longer updated regularly.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
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".
News on the RWE Case
In a recent video feature, British television station Channel 4 News poses the question "Who should pay to fix the climate emergency?". Journalist Simon Roach vividly explains why this is a question of fairness and justice, bringing together the various dimensions that form part of the answer: Starting at the industrial revolution, he looks at individual countries’ contributions to climate change, explains the sometimes confusing world of climate diplomacy, describes climate impacts and the resulting need for climate finance.
The plaintiff Saúl Luciano Lliuya and his family need a lot of patience in this worldwide-perceived lawsuit. After the court's decision to enter into the evidentiary stage, it had taken a long time until the official experts for the taking of evidence could be determined. This was partly due to objections by RWE‘s lawyers, which were rejected by the court.
Now even more time is needed to realize a recent court-appointed on-site visit to Peru/Huaraz.
Important information on the climate case
Zitat: Kläger Saúl Luciano LLiuya
"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