Climate Change pushes each Legal Domain to its Limits.

Climate change is a global problem requiring global governance. Such governance is currently weak. Individual states are the primary actors, each protecting their own interests. The resulting vacuum drives our work. Researchers within A4CL wonder how to bridge the gap and improve the regulatory environment.

The problem pushes each legal domain to its limits. Tort law naturally deals with conflict at the level of individuals. Could the public interest in achieving the Paris goals shape a private duty of care? Financial regulators seek to maintain financial stability. Should climate risk be on the balance? Competition law aims to promote healthy competition. Are green price arrangements to be favoured? Corporate law weighs the interests of stakeholders. Is mother nature a stakeholder? Democracy serves the people. Should future people have a voice?

Most of our work deals with corporations. Businesses are the main emitters. But they also are the drivers of the energy transition. What are appropriate regulatory stimuli and deterrents?

Both public and private lawyers take part. Our publications are in English and in Dutch, in leading law journals. The monthly A4CL-talks by staffmembers and external speakers are open to the public.

We engage with practicing lawyers, businesses, NGO’s and academics from other fields (climate science, economics, psychology). A4CL is part of the Amsterdam Sustainability Institute. Many of us teach in the Master’s programme International Business Law: Climate Change and Corporations.

A4CL collaborates with academic and social partners. Feel free to contact us.

The tragedy of the horizon: catastrophic impacts of climate change will be felt beyond the traditional horizons of most actors – imposing a cost on future generations that the current generation has no direct incentive to fix.


Lodewijk Smeehuijzen, Chair

Professor of private law at VU Amsterdam

Marjolein Dieperink

Professor of Energy Transition and Climate Change at VU Amsterdam

Cynthia Williams

Professor of U.S. Corporate and Securities Law at VU Amsterdam and Osler Chair in Business Law emerita Osgoode Hall Law School