Establishing a climate justice clinic in collaboration with a university.

The UQ Pro Bono Centre recognises the importance of students using their emerging legal skills to advocate on climate change issues that will most acutely impact their generation.

The UQ Pro Bono Centre established a student-led Climate Justice Initiative in 2019 to support its strategic goal of environmental sustainability through legal work. The Climate Justice Initiative is a group of senior law students who have a demonstrated commitment to environmental law and climate justice, and who wish to undertake pro bono legal research on climate justice matters. This includes research to support law reform, pro bono legal work and internal capacity building for the legal assistance sector.

Recent projects include:

  • A submission to the statutory review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, emphasises the need to incorporate climate change considerations into existing legislative provisions.
  • A response to the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, contending that federal law reform can improve resilience and adapt to changing climatic conditions.
  • The development of a case-law database to identify legal issues faced by climate activists in Queensland. In collaboration with Caxton Legal Centre, this project will be updated periodically as litigation in the area develops.
  • Legal research briefs to support pro bono litigation relating to summary criminal charges arising from climate protest. This work has been done for and on behalf of Brisbane-based law firms.

It is easy to feel helpless in our personal and professional lives as to how we can tackle climate change. We applied for the Initiative in the hope that we could channel our legal knowledge into a project that enables us to do something positive for the environment.”– Climate Justice Initiative students