May 8, 2023
BC Lawyers ask Law Society to help legal profession prepare for and mitigate climate change
Last year, a resolution at the Law Society of British Columbia was brought forward. It called on the Law Society to encourage lawyers to engage with climate change and its effects, to create a task force to study the role of lawyers in addressing climate change, and to provide its members a report on the climate impacts of the Law Society and a plan to reduce those impacts.
The resolution did not pass by a difference of 383 votes. Notably, only 18% of members voted at all.
Meanwhile, the Barreau du Québec, Law Society of New Brunswick, American Bar Association, Law Society of England and Wales, Law Council of Australia, and other jurisdictions adopted similar climate change resolutions and policies, recognizing the urgency.
But lawyers and other legal professionals in BC aren’t giving up. The resolution will be up for vote again later this year at the Law Society Annual General Meeting, with advanced voting beginning June 2nd. You can read the full resolution here.
The Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers BC hosted a webinar on April 27, 2023 to discuss the intersection of the legal profession and climate justice. Canada Climate Law Initiative Experts, Dr. Carol Liao, Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, K.C., and Bruno Caron all voiced their support for the resolution.
“We are all going to be climate lawyers, whether we like it or not,” said Dr. Carol Liao.
They encouraged everyone in the legal professional to have conversations about climate change, and to spread the word about voting for this resolution.
- Lawyers in a Warming World, Dr. Carol Liao
- Canada’s Changing Climate Report, Government of Canada
- Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples: Disproportionate Impact and Opportunities for Inclusion, ABS Canada
- References re Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, 2021 SCC 11
- Global Climate Litigation Report: 2020 Status Review, United Nations Environment Programme
- Global Trends in Climate Change Litigation: 2021 Snapshot, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy
Addressing Climate Change in All Sectors of the Legal Profession
- Gore Says Climate Change “Not a Political Issue”, Thomson Reuters
- Climate Conscious Lawyering, Lawyers for Climate Justice
- Professionals and Climate Change: How Professional Associations Can Get Serious about Global Warming, West Coast Environmental Law
- Lawyers Can’t Ignore Climate Change, The Tyee
- Lawyers and Climate Change, BarTalk
Other Professional Legal Associations’ Climate Resolutions
- Changement Climatique – Résolution, Barreau du Québec
- Climate Crisis Statement, International Bar Association
- Climate Resolution, American Bar Association
- Climate Change Resolution and Guidance Directives, Law Society of England and Wales
- Climate Change Policy, Law Council of Australia
Other BC and Canadian Professional Associations’ Climate Resolutions