Introducing the Climate Justice Legal Project
Lawyers in community legal centres work every day with people on the frontline of climate damage.
Their clients are more likely to experience climate harm because of where they live, their mental or physical health and how resilient their houses are to extreme weather. For many of these clients, their financial situation can restrict opportunities to move or adjust their living circumstances and, when disasters happen, they are more likely to be uninsured.
For First Nations clients the harms of climate change right now are magnified. First Nations researchers and advocates have shown us clearly that climate impacts are already unequally hitting the everyday lives of people caring for Country, as well as their homes, health, mental health and economic opportunities.
When people seek help at a community legal centre, what might initially look like an isolated legal issue – such as a credit, housing or debt matter – can often be driven by harm caused by climate change.
At EJA, we believe these links between community legal problems and climate impacts cannot be ignored.
This is why we are launching the Climate Justice Legal Project in partnership with the Federation of Community Legal Centres and the Climate Council.
The Project will train and support community lawyers to identify and address the impacts of climate injustice, and to take action in the courts and before government and corporate decision-makers to drive faster, fair and more ambitious climate action.
We will work with communities as they prepare for climate disasters and build their resilience and agency. We will identify trends from community legal centre data, measure impacts and work with clients to tell their stories and share their insights into their experiences of climate change. We will use this data and insight to inform climate litigation, and in turn shape legal and policy reform.
Meet the lawyer heading up the project
Katelyn (Kat) Jones is a proud Gubbi Gubbi woman raised on Dharawal and Dharug land. She is committed to centring intersectionality in her practice as a lawyer, and believes amplifying the voices of people with lived experience is the key to effecting meaningful change.
Previously, Kat worked at Consumer Action Law Centre, including as a lawyer on the Koori Integrated Practice Project in partnership with the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service. She is one of the youngest speakers to have ever presented at the World Mediation Forum.
Kat holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons). Her honours research focused on health and justice impacts experienced by incarcerated First Nations women based on intersecting race, gender and economic discrimination.