Back to Publication

General Issue

Queensland’s Human Rights Act: A New Frontier for Australian Climate Change Litigation?


Justine Bell-James and Briana Collins

In 2019, the Queensland Parliament enacted a Human Rights Act, enshrining, inter alia, the human right to life. The Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) presents a timely opportunity to open the next chapter in Australia’s climate change litigation history – a human rights-based climate change case. This article will consider the possible characterisation of such a case, drawing on international experience. Ultimately, it will conclude that a rights-based climate change case is feasible in Queensland, and a successful case would have national and international ramifications, due to the potential for Queensland coal deposits to contribute to global climate change. Further, a successful rights-based climate change case in Queensland has the capability to set powerful precedent in the growing body of climate litigation both domestically and internationally, where international climate litigation has been observed as taking a ‘rights turn’.

Please access full article here or via PDF link to the left.

(2020) 43(1) UNSWLJ 3: