Climate Change Related Litigation in Indonesia 2010-2020

Published: 31 May 2024| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/8djzxvdf3h.1
Linda Sulistiawati


This study finds that there are 112 climate change related litigation cases that have been brought before the Indonesian courts between 2010 and 2020. This includes all cases using phrases in relation to ‘climate change’ in their main claim, argument, evidence, expert witness’ argument, and judgments. Climate change key phrases have been cited at all levels of criminal and civil courts. These cases are regarded as ‘incidental’ climate change litigations. This study opines that these cases are important in the development of climate change litigation in Indonesia as they open a discussion of climate change issues in the Indonesian courts, increases exposure in the media which in turn increases social and political charges towards the courts, the government, and the judiciary. Thus, this study identifies relevant criminal and civil climate change related litigation cases between 2010 and 2020, examines the driving factors and identifies the impacts of climate change related litigation in Indonesia.


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Methodology In light of the increasing urgency of climate change, this article gives an overview of the state of climate change related litigation in Indonesia during the period of 2010 to 2020. It does so by (1) detecting criminal and civil climate change related cases that have been brought before the courts between the years 2010 and 2020; (2) dissecting examples of case studies; and (3) highlighting the trends, driving factors and impacts of climate change related litigation in Indonesia. Source of Data The Directory- Indonesian Supreme Court Website is the primary resource for this research. It is an official Directory of Verdicts of the Indonesian Supreme Courts, and all other courts under the Supreme Court, they are-- all levels of: Religious Court, Civil Court, Criminal Court, Special Criminal Court, Administrative Court, Special Civil Court, Military Criminal Court, Tax Court, and Justiciability Dispute. The website is organized and maintained by the Indonesian Supreme Court since 2014, and current address of the website is: As of today, this is the most reliable source of cases of the courts in Indonesia. However, some cases are also uploaded in their original district and high courts’ online directory, some which are available online. We use these district and high courts’ online directories as supplemental source to the supreme court’s directory. Translation All of these data bases are in Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian language), so translation was done by the author, in order to have an English language summary of the cases. Case Analysis Method This study uses the case law review as its’ methodology. Case law review often referred as a ‘legal case review’ or ‘legal case analysis’, is a process in which legal scholars examine and analyse a specific legal case.5 This process involves studying the facts, arguments, legal principles, and outcomes of the studied cases to gain understanding of its significance, implication, and potential impact on the broader legal landscape. This study is a case law review, focusing only on criminal and civil cases6 of climate change related litigation in Indonesia. Criminal cases were organized into categories based on the defendant, the case's verdict type, the primary topic of discussion, and where climate change was brought up during the proceeding. In civil cases, cases were categorized based on the type of verdict, plaintiff type (citizen lawsuit, class action, organization, state, or individual claim), level of court (district, appeal, or supreme court), and how climate change had been raised in the case (e.g., as a claim, as a reply, as an argument in the appeal, or in the expert witness argument). To get at the findings and conclusions of the study, data was then verified using additional sources of literature (books, journal articles, and reports from various organizations).


Universitas Gadjah Mada, National University of Singapore


Criminal Law, Civil Law, Litigation, Climate Change, Indonesia