Policy Statement - Climate Change Policy
27 November 2021
The physical impacts of climate change and its far-reaching consequences have become increasingly apparent, globally and in Australia, in recent years. These developments have caused international and domestic legal frameworks to evolve.
They have also presented practitioners, educational institutions and the legal profession at large with novel and complex challenges with respect to the development, understanding and practice of the law and prompted legal practices to adapt at a structural level.
In its role as the peak body for Australian lawyers on federal and national issues, the Law Council has developed this policy statement. In so doing, the Law Council draws upon its commitment to the rule of law and its organisational objects – from furthering the betterment of law in the public interest and the administration of justice, to developing and promoting advancement of the profession and the ethical standards of practitioners.
This Policy is intended to:
- provide an evidence-based policy position on climate change which furthers the Law Council’s objects and is clearly linked to its remit, for use in its work;
- ensure that the legal implications of climate change are well understood from different perspectives - while noting that these implications are wide-ranging, complex and continually evolving – as well as the implications for the legal profession itself;
- set out the Law Council’s position on the principles that should inform the role and development of the law, the role of the legal profession, legal education and legal practice in this area, having regard to the objectives of the Law Council.
The Law Council has also developed a Background Paper to provide additional context for the Policy.
The Background Paper:
- discusses the high-level scientific, social, and economic context of human-induced climate change, including the drivers of climate change and the resultant physical and transition risks;
- considers the legal implications of climate change, including Australia’s international law obligations, domestic legal and policy frameworks, and litigation trends; and
- discusses the implications of climate change for the legal profession, including changing client demands, the emergence of novel issues of law, changes in legal practices, access to justice, education and continuing professional development and professional ethical standards.