find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
UK law expert targets Australia's 'ecocrime'

UK law expert targets Australia's 'ecocrime'

A Queensland University of Technology legal expert says first world countries need to find the political will to tackle ecocrime, which he argues is one of the biggest legal crimes.

QUT Faculty of Law professor, Reece Walters, has coined the term ecocrime to describe both legal and illegal acts that harm the environment.

He said environmental protection will continue to take a back seat while trade and the economy reign supreme in the minds of political and industry leaders and policy makers.

"Governments, even the Australian Government which has quite a good environmental record, will generally only pursue environmental causes so long as they don't impinge on trade and budget bottom lines," Professor Walters said.

He said Australia, more so than any other country, was best positioned to lead the way internationally in environmental law and protection. The biggest ecocrime, he said, is the impact of air pollution on climate change.

"Because its balance sheet is in such good condition, Australia is ideally placed to trial a carbon tax," Professor Walters said.

"The whole notion of a polluter pays system cuts to the heart of good environmental law and protection."

He said Australian states varied in their approach to environmental regulation with NSW being more punitive than Queensland which took a more negotiated and conciliatory approach.

Another major ecocrime being perpetrated in Australia is the importation of illegal Indonesian timber and fish caught illegally in the waters of developing Asian and Third World countries, the legal expert argues.

"Australian timber merchants and fish retailers would in most cases not realise their products began on the black market," Professor Walters said.

"Eighty per cent of all timber coming out of Indonesia since the 1990s has been illegally logged but it's likely to have changed hands several times before it reaches Australia.

"Without a tracking and tracing system it's impossible for retailers to know whether their goods have been ethically sourced."

He said Australia is not alone in facing up to this predicament.

"Thousands of tonnes of fish caught illegally in foreign waters find their way to British fish markets each year, with devastating economic consequences for the west African nations from which they come, some of whom then see piracy and gunrunning as economic alternatives," Professor Walters said.

"This whole notion of black market goods ending up in legal market is helping to keep poor nations poor and is incredibly harmful to the environment at the same time."

Professor Walters, who recently joined QUT after being Head of the Department of Criminology and Social Policy at the United Kingdom's Open University, said the tracking and tracing of goods is an area of ecocrime that he intends to pursue in Australia.

He will speak today (Tuesday 27 September) at 'Crime, Justice and Social Democracy: An International Conference' being held at QUT Gardens Point campus.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

UK law expert targets Australia's 'ecocrime'
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice, ALA, right-to-die law
Oct 24 2017
‘Right-to-die’ laws would be a relief for terminally ill: ALA
The passage of an assisted dying bill through the lower house of Victorian Parliament has been haile...
Oct 24 2017
Diversity top of agenda for future WA Law Society president
The advancement of diversity in the Western Australian legal profession will be one of the key items...
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...