Costs in Public Interest Climate Change Litigation

Are mechanisms such as protective costs orders or no orders as to costs in cases of public interest litigation effective in breaking down access to justice such as the barrier of costs in climate change litigation?

Justice Rachel Pepper discusses how the possibility of an adverse costs order can have a significant deterrent on the bringing of litigation in this lunchtime seminar. These costs can be sizable in climate change litigation, which is often novel and where the competing legal issues typically involve complex scientific questions necessitating the provision of costly evidence. The chilling effect of an adverse costs order is all the more acute in public interest litigation – where an applicant (who tends to be a not-for-profit community group or an individual) before the court may gain no direct personal benefit from the litigation.

In her paper, observations are made about costs regimes in Australia and in the United Kingdom, and consideration is given to whether there is scope within these regimes to improve costs outcomes in public interest litigation directed to climate change.

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11 Oct 2020


1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Moot Court
ANU College of Law (Building 6A), 5 Fellows Road, Acton, ACT 2601


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  • Justice Rachel Pepper
    Justice Rachel Pepper

    ANU Law alumna The Honourable Justice Rachel Pepper (BA ’91, LLB (Hons) ’94) was appointed as a Judge of the Land and Environment Court of NSW in May 2009. From 1997 until her appointment in 2009, Justice Pepper practised as a barrister at the New South Wales Bar. Her principal areas of practice were general commercial law and public law, including constitutional and administrative law. While at the bar, Justice Pepper was a member of Bar Council from 2000 to 2009 and was Secretary of the Bar Council from 2006 to 2009. Prior to being called to the bar, Justice Pepper was the Associate to Justice Michael McHugh AC in the High Court of Australia. In March 2015, Justice Pepper was the inaugural judge-in-residence at the Australian National University’s Centre for International and Public Law at the ANU College of Law and has been a long-term champion of ANU Law. In 2017, she was appointed Chair of the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing of Onshore Unconventional Gas Reservoirs and Associated Activities in the Northern Territory. She is currently an ambassador for Twenty10.