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Duty of Care: The Climate Trials

Maple Leaf This item is only available for Canadian orders.

Catalogue Number:  TVP114
Producer:  Video Project, Inc.
Producers:  Balthazar, Nic; Tak, Sarah
Directors:  Balthazar, Nic
Subject:  Canadian World Studies, Criminal Justice & Law, Current Events, Documentary, Environmental Justice, Environmental Studies, Global Issues, Global Studies, Politics, Science, Social Issues, Social Sciences
Language:  English
Grade Level:  9 - 12, Post Secondary, Adult
Country Of Origin:  United States
Copyright Year:  2022
Running Time:  56:20

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With echoes of the lawsuits against Big Tobacco, Duty of Care: The Climate Trials gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at Roger Cox's David v Goliath battles. In the courtroom drama of our lifetimes, a Dutch property lawyer turned litigation maverick takes on powerful states and one of the world's largest oil companies.

Duty of Care tells the inside story of Roger Cox, the first and only lawyer to have successfully sued both a government and an oil giant in landmark court cases that established climate inaction can be made illegal. His ground-breaking case against the Dutch government and oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has been foundational in determining that even private entities owe a duty of care to citizens to avoid catastrophic climate change, which stunned legal experts and sent shockwaves through parliaments and corporate boardrooms around the world.

The documentary is a character-driven journey through the highs and lows of his trials, featuring a cast of creative lawyers, activists, and ordinary citizens who are pursuing what they see as the legal showdown of the century. Against a backdrop of settled science and persistent inaction, and initially motivated by climate change documentaries, Cox leads a robust legal challenge against one of the worlds largest emitters of greenhouse gases. His surprise success against nearly unlimited resources leads him to being named one of the 100 most influential people of the year by Time magazine, as his cases have now set legal precedent as climate litigation continues to grow at an increasing rate. 

With interviews from experts and activists leading the wave of international climate litigation triggered by Cox's successes, the film presents a fresh, inspiring story about — and for — future generations of climate leaders as justice takes over where politicians and profit makers have for so long obstructed and delayed. Unique among films addressing climate change, Duty of Care stands apart as one that offers hope for a sustainable planet, achieved through the courts. 

Streaming rights not available for Post Secondary institutions.


  • DocVille, Audience Award
  • Braunschweig International Film Festival,
  • Green Horizons Award
  • Matsalu Nature Film Festival
  • Estonian Fund for Nature Special Prize


  • DocVille
  • Movies That Matter Festival
  • Festival des Libertês
  • Human Rights Film Festival
  • Films for the Earth Festival
  • Sustainable Living Film Festival
  • Global Health Film Festival

"Thrilling courtroom drama... A hopeful and inspiring story that shows how one person can really make a difference."— DocVille

"For the Green Horizons Award, the jury chose a documentary in which the actions of individuals show tangible and far-reaching results. Because we can no longer wait for promises, but need action that leads to effective change... Takes viewers on a journey through the course of a highly exciting legal dispute involving one of the world's largest oil companies... The film inspires people to take action themselves and shows that various democratic steps, no matter how utopian they may seem, can indeed have an impact."— Braunschweig International Film Festival Jury Statement

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