This database records litigation (including settled cases and court orders) on issues of climate change in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. It encompasses cases across several different substantive categories including:
- Project Approval (mitigation) cases.
- Project Approval (adaptation) cases.
- Corporate Accountability cases.
- Constitutional and Human Rights / State Accountability cases.
- Cases that broaden access to justice in climate cases.
Australia presently has the second largest number of climate cases globally and the most significant adaptation jurisprudence of any country. Climate litigation is likely to continue to grow in New Zealand and Pacific Island countries.
For details of litigation elsewhere in the world you can find this information on the climate change case charts maintained by the Sabin Center for Climate Law at Columbia University and the LSE Grantham Institute’s Climate Change Laws of the World database.
The database adopts a broad definition of ‘climate litigation’. This includes cases where: climate change is a central issue in the dispute, climate change is raised as a peripheral issue, climate concerns motivate the lawsuit, or the case has implications for mitigation or adaptation (Peel & Osofsky 2015, p.8). There is also some inclusion of non-court based cases e.g. legal letters, tribunal decisions etc.
The Australian and Pacific Climate Change Litigation database is continually being updated with new cases. If you are aware of relevant cases from Australia, New Zealand or the Pacific Islands which do not yet appear in the database please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Melbourne Climate Futures is a multidisciplinary climate initiative established by the University of Melbourne to contribute to greater action on climate change @MCFunimelb, #MelbourneClimateFutures.
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SELECT LITIGATION TYPE:
- Access to Justice
- Costs15 cases
- Other11 cases
- Protest Activities6 cases
- Transparency/disclosure3 cases
- View all 35 cases.
- Constitutional and Human Rights / State Accountability
- Constitutional rights6 cases
- Duty of Care5 cases
- Human rights20 cases
- Renewable energy2 cases
- Statutory Duty9 cases
- Transparency/disclosure7 cases
- View all 49 cases.
- Corporate Accountability
- Carbon credits / offsets8 cases
- Consumer protection12 cases
- Environmental harm7 cases
- Negligence / Nuisance3 cases
- Other4 cases
- Renewable energy2 cases
- Shareholder actions1 case
- Transparency/disclosure29 cases
- View all 66 cases.
- Project Approval - Adaptation
- Bushfire risk28 cases
- Coastal hazard50 cases
- Flood risk59 cases
- Land valuation4 cases
- Local government liability2 cases
- Other6 cases
- Sea level rise23 cases
- Threatened species7 cases
- Water19 cases
- View all 198 cases.
- Project Approval - Mitigation
- Airport1 case
- Coal mine37 cases
- Coal-fired / gas-fired power station12 cases
- Costs1 case
- Energy efficiency8 cases
- Gas / Oil20 cases
- Hydropower2 cases
- Other18 cases
- Solar energy14 cases
- Threatened species2 cases
- Urban Planning25 cases
- Wind farm26 cases
- View all 166 cases.
- Australian Capital Territory
- Ad Standards3 cases
- Administrative Appeals Tribunal6 cases
- Australian Communications and Media Authority1 case
- Australian Information Commissioner1 case
- Australian Patent Office1 case
- Federal Court of Australia37 cases
- High Court of Australia6 cases
- National Native Title Tribunal2 cases
- Other17 cases
- Refugee Review Tribunal of Australia1 case
- View all 75 cases.
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- District Court of Queensland2 cases
- Queensland Body Corporate and Community Management Commissioner - Adjudicators Orders1 case
- Queensland Land and Resources Tribunal2 cases
- Queensland Land Court11 cases
- Queensland Planning and Environment Court16 cases
- Supreme Court of Queensland4 cases
- Supreme Court of Queensland - Court of Appeal2 cases
- View all 38 cases.
- South Australia
- Western Australia
SELECT AN INTERNATIONAL JURISDICTION:
- New Zealand
- Court of Appeal of New Zealand5 cases
- District Court of New Zealand1 case
- Environment Court of New Zealand55 cases
- High Court of New Zealand33 cases
- New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority1 case
- New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal12 cases
- New Zealand Media Council1 case
- Planning Tribunal of New Zealand2 cases
- Supreme Court of New Zealand3 cases
- View all 113 cases.
- Pacific Islands
Select a .pdf to download:
- Trends in Australian Climate Litigation: 2021
- Trends in Australian Climate Litigation: 2020
- Trends in Australian Climate Litigation: 2019
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Case Number Trend In Australia
Case Number Trend In New Zealand
Litigation Type Trend In Australia
Litigation Type Trend In New Zealand
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Litigation Type Breakdown In Australia
Litigation Type Breakdown In New Zealand
Proportionate liability in climate cases
Could future climate cases involving economic loss for contractual breaches, negligence and misleading and deceptive conduct see proportionate liability arguments raised?
Contract-related climate disputes: Reliance damages
A non-climate case headed for the High Court could clarify the law around reliance damages, with possible implications for remedies in future contractual climate disputes.
Legal interventions beyond the courtroom
Climate litigation exists well beyond the courtroom. It includes a range of other legal interventions such as legal letters, shareholder resolutions and administrative review processes. Read this policy brief from Bek Markey-Towler.
The UN is asking the International Court of Justice for its opinion on states’ climate obligations. What does this mean?
Read this external article by Jackie Peel and Zoe Nay on the Pacific-led request for an advisory opinion on a country's climate obligations.
Notify us “if anything changes about your home or contents"
ASIC’s first test case alleging unfair insurance contract terms may have implications for future climate litigation, if it is successful.
Excluding climate risks in insurance contracts
A decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia might not be a ‘climate case’ but potentially foreshadows issues in future climate disputes.
A Horizon Scan for ESG Litigation in Australia
ESG concerns are becoming increasingly mainstream, some trends are emerging as well as some case study examples in Australia.
Our Islands, Our Home: How Eight Torres Strait Islander Peoples Held the Australian Government Accountable for Climate Inaction
Read this external blog post by Zoe Nay on the landmark decision Billy et al v Australia in the United Nations Human Rights Committee.