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Environmental, Climate and Regulatory Law

Environmental and regulatory compliance issues are now part of everyday life for most businesses, be they engaged in evidently hazardous activities or not.

Likewise, developments in the climate change arena are raising new challenges for the business community. Regulatory demands, however, continue to widen in response to increasingly international environmental, human rights and trade concerns and present more and more compliance issues affecting both processes and products, as well as liability issues in business transactions. To steer successfully through this regulatory jungle requires specialist expertise on a global scale.

Allen & Overy’s International Environmental, Climate and Regulatory Law Group includes more than 60 specialist, commercially focused environmental and regulatory law experts across the world advising on all aspects of environmental, product and trade law and liability. As one of the first law firms to develop a globally integrated environmental law practice, we are able to provide both transactional and stand alone advice in all the major areas of environmental and health and safety law at national, regional and international levels. We have long-standing expertise in a wide range of regulatory issues affecting our clients’ supply chains and the movement of our clients’ products around the world. We also regularly advise clients on the management of cross-border due diligence and on contractual negotiations in relation to major international acquisitions, disposals and infrastructure projects.

Our geographic reach, including the transfer of knowledge between different offices and jurisdictions, means that we are able to keep abreast of the latest environmental initiatives and legislative developments occurring around the globe. We closely track environmental policy, climate change and trade policy and regulatory developments and are in regular contact with policy makers and regulators whose work impacts our clients' interests. In addition to expertise in our own offices, by virtue of our network of specialist local firms in other jurisdictions, we can also ensure that you get high quality environmental and regulatory advice wherever in the world you need it.

With a mass of new and changing legislation in this area, the boardroom has never had so much reason to pay attention to human rights and other regulatory issues. SEC and new EU reporting requirements (and their global equivalents) on environmental issues, including obligations to report on environmental proceedings, impacts and standards in annual reports and on non-compliance more generally authorities, are just a couple of examples.

Our environmental and regulatory law experts advise on all types of disclosure requirements and associated problems, such as commercial confidentiality. Whether the issue of disclosure arises in respect of a statutory or permit based obligation, as a result of a request from a regulator, or even under pressure from interested stakeholders, our sector specific knowledge helps clients grappling with the legal and commercial implications, particularly in relation to business sensitive matters.

The ability to obtain information from Government and public bodies which may concern your business or the business of others is both a positive and negative development. We can advise on exactly what "freedom of access to information" might mean for you, and how defences, like commercial confidentiality and national security, come into play.

News and insights

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News: 17 May 2023

Allen & Overy Joins the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping

Today, the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping (the Center) and global law firm Allen & Overy formalized their collaboration by signing a partnership agreement. With this agreement,…

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Publications: 20 April 2023

Decarbonisation disputes: the evolving frontier of climate-related risk

The Net Zero transition will not be smooth. The scale of the investment required, and the appetite and ability of countries to implement new policy – both now and in the years to come – will cause…

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Publications: 20 April 2023

Q&A: Managing risk in cutting-edge Net Zero projects

The shift to Net Zero will require the transition to cutting-edge technologies. In this environment, traditional contracting models – for example engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) – may…

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Publications: 20 April 2023

Q&A: Why shifts in energy transition policy are driving a new wave of disputes

Implementing laws and regulations to change society's centuries-long dependence on fossil fuels is a massive challenge. Here, we explore how energy policy is driving disputes.

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Transition to a sustainable economy

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Sustainability and ESG (environment, social and governance) issues are rising to the top of the agenda.

The transition of the economy to align with the Paris Agreement aims and the UN Sustainable Development Goals is set to dominate the next decade. Explore our insights on developments in the key themes in the sustainability transition.

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Awards and accolades

  • Band 1 for Regulatory: Environment (Chambers Europe)
  • Band 1 Environment (Legal 500 UK)
  • Band 2 Environment: Mainly Transactional (Chambers USA)


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