Climate change is a multi-scalar problem with local and global dimensions. The interactions between these scales have elevated climate issues to the forefront of economic, corporate and public law.
No longer merely the purview of environmental law, climate change has implications for daily legal practice and lawyers are increasingly being recognised as climate change actors. Climate change places a responsibility on lawyers to adopt a climate conscious rather than a climate blind approach in their daily legal practice. A climate conscious approach requires an active awareness of the reality of climate change and how it interacts with legal problems.
Consistent with legal ethics, there are at least five ways in which lawyers can implement this climate conscious approach in their daily legal practice: adopting a holistic legal approach; effective identification, interpretation and application of legal rules; emphasising ethical duties of lawyers; acknowledging the overriding duty to the court and upholding the integrity and values of the legal system; and pursuing a personal ethical approach. Each of these ways challenges common conceptions (or rather misconceptions) about the role and duties of a lawyer.
Allen Hope Southey Memorial Lecture
In 1958, Ethel Thorpe Southey, better known as Nancy Southey, made a gift to the University of Melbourne to endow a law lectureship in memory of her husband Allen Hope Southey, who had graduated as a Master of Laws in the University in 1917 and died in 1929 at the age of 35.
Thirty years later, the Allen Hope Southey Memorial Lecture again enjoyed the support of the Southey family as they made further donations to build on Nancy Southey’s initiative. Forty years later, Mr and Mrs Southey’s son, Sir Robert Southey, made a generous gift in his will to the lectureship fund his mother had established.
And in 2008, 50 years later, the five sons of Sir Robert Southey continued the family’s support of the Allen Hope Southey Memorial Lecture at Melbourne Law School.