This Forum demonstrated how lawyers and civil society organizations using pro bono can combat climate change.
This event was introduced by Andrej Nosko, Interim Co-Executive Director of PILnet, expertly moderated by Sue Mahony, Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department Secondee to the Australian Pro Bono Centre, and featured the following three panelists, who brought to life the case studies featured on the Global Pro Bono Climate Action Portal.:
- Sophie Marjanac, from ClientEarth in the UK, spoke about its recent ground-breaking win in the United Nations Human Rights Committee. For the first time, the UN body found that climate inaction had violated human rights, declaring that by failing to act on climate change, the Australian government had breached the rights to life with dignity, family, home, and culture of communities in the Torres Strait. Four years in the making, ClientEarth worked closely with communities in the Torres Strait to develop a legal strategy, supported by pro bono solicitors and barristers from the UK, Australia, and Peru. You can read about ClientEarth’s work on the Portal.
- Takanobu Morita, Associate at DLA Piper based in Tokyo, spoke about the extensive legal and commercial research undertaken pro bono by his team to support a feasibility study for a cross-border renewable energy project known as the Asia Super Grid. The Asia Super Grid is an ambitious proposal to transmit renewable energy from Mongolia and other remote regions across national boundaries to China, Korea, and Japan. You can read about DLA Piper’s work on the Asia Super Grid on the Portal.
- Alison Ryan, the Supervising Senior Solicitor from Sydney-based Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS), discussed the challenges RACS faces because the impacts of climate change are not recognised categories of harm under the Refugee Convention. Nonetheless, RACS provides expert immigration advice to vulnerable displaced persons with the help of its extensive pro bono network. You can read about RACS’ work with those affected by displacement related to climate change on the Portal.
The event was held on October 13, 2022 and was co-hosted by PILnet and the Australian Pro Bono Centre.