Property rights and climate governance: new frontiers for adaptive law

Presented by ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

The 21st century poses new challenges for law as a result of climate change and mass movements of people. There is emerging interest in adaptive law, which broadly describes regulatory approaches that avoid rigid ex ante solutions to complex socio-ecological problems. The advantages of adaptive laws are said to include flexibility, risk diversification, and learning from innovation.

But how can such a regime apply to property in land? While contractual distributions of property rights allow for flexibility, there are also core concerns for standardisation and stability in the definition, recordation and protection of property in land. The challenges for adaptive property law include ways in which principles of "laws built to learn" may apply to stability/flexibility trade-offs in legal design, not only in terms of contractual distribution of rights, but also for modes of defining, recording and enforcing entitlements to land.

This presentation provides a discussion of adaptive property law based on a newly published monograph, Law, Property and Disasters: Adaptive Perspectives from the Global South (Routledge Glasshouse List 2021).

About the Speaker

Daniel Fitzpatrick writes on land tenure in contexts of climate change and natural disasters. A past winner of the Hart Article Prize, Professor Fitzpatrick has been a Global Visiting Professor at New York University School of Law, and a Distinguished Visitor at the University of Toronto. From 2012 to 2016 he held a prestigious Future Fellowship from the Australian Research Council. In 2022, he will be a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Centre for International Scholars in Washington DC.

Professor Fitzpatrick's extensive public policy experience includes acting as the UN's land rights adviser in post-conflict East Timor (2000) and post-tsunami Aceh (2005-6). He is the primary author of the UN guidelines on addressing land issues after natural disasters, and is a member of the expert advisory committee for the Platform on Disaster Displacement. His most recent policy work for the World Bank is on Land Tenure and Disaster Risk Management in Situations of Fragility, Conflict and Violence.

This event will be delivered online via Zoom.