ClientEarth Supports Groundbreaking Environmental Legislation

ClientEarth Supports Groundbreaking Environmental Legislation

Posted by Rachel's Network in News 01 May 2013

ClientEarth is a Rachel’s Network Fiscal Sponsorship Fund that launched in 2007.

Today the United Kingdom Supreme Court ruled that the government has failed to meet air pollution limits as mandated by European law. Illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide, a toxic gas, are present in several major cities, including London, Manchester, Birmingham, and Glasgow. Public interest law firm ClientEarth argued that the government is in breach of Article 13 of the EU Air Quality Directive and should be compelled to provide plans for reducing nitrogen dioxide by January 1, 2015. Under current government plans, nitrogen dioxide levels would not be reduced until 2020 or as late as 2025 in London.The Supreme Court upheld ClientEarth’s appeal.

“The Supreme Court recognized that this case has broader implications for EU environmental law: The Government can’t flout environmental law with impunity. If the Government breaks the law, citizens can demand justice and the courts must act,” James Thornton, ClientEarth CEO, said.

ClientEarth is the first public interest law firm in the European Union. It was launched in 2007 by philanthropist Winsome McIntosh and her husband Michael with support from the Rachel’s Network Fiscal Sponsorship Fund. The fund fosters the development of independent nonprofits by providing public charitable sponsorship. ClientEarth is now a registered charity in England and Wales and was recently named by Greenwire UK as the most effective environmental organization in Europe.

McIntosh initiated the concept of ClientEarth and provided funding with the goal of making a difference in environmental public policy in all 27 member countries.

“Having the reputation and experience in the United States for being a lead funder in promoting and developing public interest law for the environment, it seemed natural to us to take that knowledge and experience internationally,” McIntosh said.

Since its inception, ClientEarth has expanded to include three offices—in the United Kingdom, Poland, and Belgium—and works to protect the environment through advocacy, litigation and research.

“ClientEarth was born to fulfill a niche that no other organization within the EU has. We successfully introduced the value of the law as a ‘tool’ to the environmental and funding communities, and legal success translates to millions of people helped with an environmental action, such as protecting clean air,” McIntosh said.


The Rachel’s Network Fiscal Sponsorship Fund empowers members to develop entrepreneurial programs into independent nonprofits. Through it, members may initiate a project through the Network’s established 501(c)(3) nonprofit structure without having to assume the administrative responsibilities of establishing a new legal entity. This process affords members the freedom to manage their projects and nurture their budding organizations’ growth.

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