Australia - When the sea claims your house, who do you sue? It's legal quicksand

Australian beaches have been disappearing faster and with more permanence, no question; the causes are not so simple and neither are the legal consequences.

If the seas reclaim your front yard -- or your whole house -- who can you sue? It's a question lawyers are going to be addressing more urgently, as coastlines are radically redrawn.

There's this eternal truth: coasts erode. If you build on the shoreline, sooner or later you'll be in the drink, even if that takes a millennium or two. No law will compensate you for Mother Nature's revenge.

Direct human intervention -- such as dredging of shipping channels, seawalls, artificial harbours -- impacts on coastal ecology in dramatic and often unpredicted ways. Mackay, McEwens Beach and Stockton are clear examples.

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