Contributed by: Hannah Bain, Chris Curran and Emmeline Rushbrook
Published on: November 04, 2022
Judicial review claims are becoming increasingly common in New Zealand as a way of testing government decision-making on climate change, reflecting similar trends overseas.
Some recent cases highlight the potential for judicial review to drive outcomes in the climate space. For example, a group of NGOs has successfully challenged the UK Government's Net Zero Strategy, with the result that it now needs to be revised by March 20231. Even where a claim is unsuccessful or does not proceed to trial, the fact or threat of a judicial review proceeding can contribute to a change of direction by a decision-maker and may ultimately contribute to changes to emissions pathways2.
It is also clear, however, that judicial review is not a silver bullet where a party is unhappy with the direction of travel on climate change, and this is also reflected in recent cases.
Key themes emerging from recent cases include:
Further detail of recent cases and exploration of the key themes is set out in the pdf at the link below.
Judicial Reviews of recent climate change cases (pdf).
Special thanks to Annabel Shaw of Te Whakahaere for her review and helpful comments.
Special Counsel, Climate Change