Climate Justice Legal Project

Climate Justice Legal Project

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The Climate Justice Legal Project (CJLP) is a partnership between the Federation of Community Legal Centres, the Climate Council and Environmental Justice Australia.

The CJLP helps lawyers and other practitioners better identify the impacts of climate change on the rights and justice of individuals and communities to ensure equity and access to justice.

The project embeds climate justice across Victoria’s 47 Community Legal Centres and collaborates with partners and legal sector stakeholders to ensure the impacts of climate change are factored into legal and policy considerations. CJLP also seeks to ensure that climate justice is recognised and supported across the community.

The Climate Justice Legal Project works to:

  • Develop an integrated campaign for legal and policy change that is grounded in lived expertise and the latest climate and social science in Victoria
  • Support those who provide access to justice to better empower those impacted by climate change
  • Strengthen legal capacity to support community resilience in practice and advocacy
  • Add to and amplify voices calling for urgent greenhouse gas emissions cuts this decade and the rapid roll out of equitable climate solutions.

Working with Community Legal Centres across Victoria (many of which are located in the areas of Victoria most impacted by climate change-induced disasters) the CJLP trains and supports community lawyers to identify and address the impacts of climate injustice, identifies the evidence, collects data and stories to amplify the voices of those communities, advocates for climate justice and co-designs programs with Community Legal Centres to support communities to prepare for worsening climate change and to recover from the impacts.

The CJLP also pursues strategic litigation and law reform to address climate injustice and drive faster, fairer and more ambitious climate action.

The CJLP has four goals:

  1. Advocate for equitable and accessible climate solutions that address the root drivers of inequality and highlight the need for immediate cuts in emissions to prevent further climate injustice
  2. Amplify the voices, lived expertise and legal needs of those disproportionately impacted by climate change
  3. Ability by building the capacity of Community Legal Centres and partner organisations to identify, anticipate and respond to legal needs arising from the impacts of climate change
  4. Adapt community legal services and legal practice to a climate justice model that embeds equitable adaptation practices and legal advice across the wider justice and legal sectors using evidence and data.

During this disruptive time of worsening climate change, the community legal sector has an opportunity to influence the legal system and to be responsive to the needs of our shared environment upon which social justice and human rights outcomes depend.

In this critical decade for action, we have no choice but to move quickly, fairly and strategically, to build our climate consciousness and our capacity to assist those who stand to lose the most from the climate crisis. As the law alters in response to the climate crisis, our collective understanding of inequality and legal protections against furthering climate injustice also need to evolve.

This includes increasing regulation on emissions to reduce climate vulnerabilities and harms. Climate injustice includes loss of housing, health issues, increased discrimination and social exclusion, and disputes with emergency management about access to family and property during bushfire season. The CJLP is committed to transforming the legal system so that it addresses systemic injustice and fulfills climate justice.

An adaptive capacity checklist for Community Legal Centres is available for download here.

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