AbstractIn this presentation, the authors examine the circumstances in which public bodies and professionals retained by them can be liable to pay monetary compensation for erosion damage. Coastal engineering, together with the analysis of coastal processes, play an important role in this legal landscape. Public bodies may come under a duty to implement defensive works; but equally they may be responsible for adverse impacts from them, such as end effects erosion. Coastal engineers may be engaged to provide critical protective works; but they may be liable where works are not designed or built to required standards or for stipulated purposes. Difficulties in assessing likely risk due to changes associated with climate change add an additional dimension with the increased risk of failure of protective works facing conditions which may not have previously been considered in the design criteria. Drawing from a decade of experience acting for litigants and property owners in erosion hotspots in New South Wales, the authors identify the key principles that apply in Australia and other common law jurisdiction and discuss how these rules can apply to scenarios where a disaster arises on any coastline. Some of the cases covered were included in the 2017 review by the United Nations entitled "The Status of Climate Change Litigation".
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