Climate Disaster Law - A World First

30 June 2014

Climate Disaster Law
Climate Disaster Law

In July, Sydney Law School is offering the world’s first postgraduate Climate Disaster Law unit of study.

The unit will be taught at Clare College, University of Cambridge under the auspices of the Sydney Law School in Europe program.

While other Law Schools have begun to teach units in Disaster or Emergency Management Law, this is the first to focus squarely on extreme weather events and disasters, especially those influenced by climate change.

Unit coordinator, Professor Rosemary Lyster, has designed the unit to focus first on the latest scientific reports provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and then the role of law in all stages of disaster risk reduction and management including: mitigating the impacts of disasters and building resilience; emergency management during the disaster; post-disaster recovery and reconstruction; and victim compensation.

Notions of climate justice provide the background context to these discussions.

The question of victim compensation will be addressed by Professor Michael Faure from Maastricht University who is a leading authority on this topic in a range of different disaster contexts.

Professor Jean Venables CBE, University of Southampton and President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, will be discussing adaptation responses for flood risk management.

Students will also benefit from Skype presentations given by other leading climate change legal academics including: Professor Michael Gerrard, Columbia Law School; Professor Dan Farber, Berkeley School of Law; and Professor Jonathan Verschuuren, Tilburg University, The Netherlands.

Following her teaching in this unit, Professor Lyster will be a Visiting scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge in July and August during which time she will be conducting research for her new book Climate Justice and Disaster Law to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2015.