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SEA LEVEL LAW: Case studies on council liabilities for sea-level rise

October 21, 2020 @ 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Constant Change Seminar Series

Constant Change Seminar Series

One of the key trends in domestic and international climate litigation is in trying to establish who is liable for taking (or not taking) adaptation measures.

There have been at least 19 court challenges in Aotearoa to council decisions on adaptation to sea-level rise. Currently, councils have a lot of leeway in their approaches to climate hazard risks, including sea-level rise. Court action across the nation is testing the limits of council authority, and showing up gaps in the legislative and policy environment.

And even though leeway exists for councils, some of their options will incur larger future liability costs than others. Further, some councils –  at least some of those involved in making adaptation decisions – appear to be unaware of the extent of their possible liability.

In this seminar, Catherine Iorns (Victoria University of Wellington) will take you through one aspect of her broad-ranging research into “Sea level rise, housing and insurance: Liability and compensation”.



About the Presenter:

Catherine Iorns is a Professor of Law at Victoria University of Wellington. Her research interests focus on Environmental Law and Management while also covering Indigenous Rights and Statutory Interpretation. Her current research covers a range of topics including climate adaptation laws, freshwater, deep seabed mining, Māori environmental justice, and responsibility frameworks for nature. She is also involved in the current appeal of the Draft Water Conservation Order for Te Waikoropupū Springs.

This seminar is part of the Constant Change seminar series of The Deep South, National Science Challenges. The organization hopes to keep climate change at the forefront of planning and investment in this time of the pandemic. Please join this online seminar series from your home or office.



October 21, 2020
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Event Category:


The Deep South, National Science Challenges.
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