Bond University launches world-first climate law degree

A Queensland university will provide the world’s first climate law students with a desire and passion to help heal the world legally and fix the system from the inside.

The Gold Coast’s Bond University has announced its new Bachelor of Law (LLB) in Climate Law degree, with the first students commencing the degree in January.

Bond Faculty of Law Dean Professor Nick James said today that the new course was developed and took its cues from the hundreds of thousands of students who protested to demand action on climate change in 2018 and 2019 – a movement that grabbed global attention via outspoken teenage Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Professor James said COVID-19 had temporarily taken the focus off climate change, but there were still many young people passionate about doing something to help heal the planet.

“My sense is that concern among high-school students and young people hasn’t gone away and that they are energised and keen to learn more about the issue and how to do something about it,” he said. “The problem at the moment isn’t the lack of science. We don’t need more climate scientists. We need people who understand the problem and how to work with our legal and political systems so that we can respond appropriately to climate change.

“A law degree supplemented by training in climate science and climate sociology will provide these students with the qualifications and the expertise they need to take effective action.”


Professor James said he expected two types of students to be drawn to the new program.

“One is the person who was already thinking about studying law and is attracted to the idea of becoming a specialist in this emerging area of legal practice,” he said. “They will go into large firms and help clients deal with climate change related legal issues.

“The other … is the person who has never considered studying law before. All they know is that they want to do something about climate change.

“We believe that a law degree will empower them to go out and make a difference.”

Students will be able to enrol in subjects focusing on negotiating climate disputes, climate law and human rights, and law reform and critical consciousness.

“There is presently no other undergraduate law degree that specialises in climate law anywhere in the world,” Professor James said.

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