Working pro bono to tackle the climate crisis

One of the most impactful ways a lawyer can use their skills and experience to combat the climate crisis is through pro bono work. The Centre has developed and collated the following resources to help lawyers feel equipped to address one of the foremost challenges of our time:

  1. The Global Pro Bono Climate Action Portal– an online portal developed in collaboration with global NGO PILnet, which features a wide range of case studies from around the world that illustrate the variety of ways lawyers are using their expertise pro bono to tackle the climate crisis.
  1. The Pro Bono Guide to the Climate Crisis– a practical resource that describes 15 different ways that lawyers can dedicate their expertise, experience and resources to address the climate crisis.
  1. list of Australian civil society organisations currently tackling climate change.
  1. A compilation of other helpful resources.

Global Pro Bono Climate Action Portal

The Centre has developed a Global Pro Bono Climate Action Portal in collaboration with global NGO PILnet. The Portal features a wide range of case studies from around the world that illustrate the variety of ways lawyers are using their expertise pro bono to tackle the climate crisis. We’re hoping it will inspire and inform the global legal profession.

View the Portal here.

Pro Bono Guide to the Climate Crisis

Find out how pro bono lawyers can help tackle the global climate crisis.

“This informative and inspiring publication describes the many ways that lawyers and the legal profession can dedicate their extensive expertise, experience and resources to tackling the climate crisis… Ultimately, climate change is not just about science or technology. It’s about justice. The legal profession has a moral obligation to stand up and join the movement for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.”

Dr. David R. Boyd
United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment

What does the Guide include?

The Guide aims to inform and inspire lawyers across the globe. It includes:

  • descriptions of 15 different ways that lawyers can get involved in pro bono work to help combat the climate crisis
  • a range of compelling case studies from around the world, and
  • advice on how to get started.

Translation into Persian

This Guide has been translated into Persian, with thanks to Seyed Masoud Noori, Founder and Executive Director of the Roya Institute for Global Justice. You can download the Persian version of the guide here.

List of Australian civil society organisations

Below are a list of civil society organisations that are working to fight climate change in a variety of ways. Some of them may welcome pro bono support from lawyers. Please contact these organisations directly to ask if you can assist.

This list is not exhaustive and will evolve over time. Please contact us if you think we should add another organisation to the list.

Action Ready
Australian Earth Laws Alliance
Beyond Zero Emissions
Climate Justice Programme
Climate Justice Network
Climate Tasmania
Environmental Defenders Office
Environmental Justice Australia
Friends of the Earth Australia
Lawyers for Climate Justice
Lawyers for Forests
Melbourne Activist Legal Support
Nature Conservation Council of NSW
University of Queensland Pro Bono Centre Australia

This list is provided for information purposes only and should not be considered an implied Centre endorsement of any particular organisation on the list.

More information on sourcing pro bono opportunities is here.

Pro Bono Response to Natural Disasters

Pro Bono Response to Natural Disasters Report

The Centre’s report, Pro Bono Response to Natural Disasters, synthesises insights from 34 organisations across Australia, including legal aid commissions, community legal centres, referral schemes and law firms into 27 key national recommendations on pro bono best practice in this context.

The report briefly describes the disaster response landscape in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania, from where contributions to this research were made. It extracts key learnings and recommendations for pro bono practitioners to consider when offering their support during live disasters in each jurisdiction, and how they might better support disaster resilience and preparedness outside of live disasters.

Other helpful resources

Climate Change Litigation Guide

Action4Justice has produced a practical, step-by-step guide to assist communities, civil society organisations and lawyers to assess the viability of, and take legal action to, combat climate change. In addition, Action4Justice has created the following complementary materials intended to assist potential climate litigants:

  • Templates to assist those who wish to start legal action;
  • Topic Sheets to provide solutions to specific legal problems that recur in climate litigation (e.g. justiciability); and
  • Climate Litigation Matrix, which is a consolidated table that shows a summary of the key legal issues and elements of various types of climate-related legal action.

One Million Hours Pledge 

The ‘1 Million Hours’ pledge has been created by organisations within the legal industry committed to collaboration for the purpose of stopping climate change and biodiversity loss. They are seeking to raise one million hours of pledged time from legal sector organisations.

You can find more of the Centre’s publications and resources here.