find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Corporate Lawyer (3-5 years PQE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· National firm acting for domestic and multinational clients
View details
Lawyer – CTP Insurance (2-3 years)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Well-regarded team offering mentoring and career development
View details
Environmental laws without public standing are 'a dead letter'

Environmental laws without public standing are 'a dead letter'

Stephen Keim

Restricting who can bring an action under environmental protection legislation would render the laws pointless, a barrister has warned.

Brisbane-based barrister Stephen , who has acted in a number of high-profile environmental cases, suggested the public standing rules ensure principles around sustainable development are enforced.

The standing rules in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 came under fire recently in the wake of the Carmichael coal mine decision, with Senator George Brandis labelling them “lawfare” and warning anyone could bring an action to derail government projects.

However, Mr Keim suggested the broad standing rules – which allow people who have acted to protect and improve the environment to bring a case – are vital for the system to function.

“We know how important it is to adhere to the principles of ecologically sustainable development – I don't think there would be a party in Australia that wouldn't subscribe to those principles,” he said.

“But you can only pursue those ideals if you have strong environmental laws […] If ordinary members of the public can't make sure they are enforced, then they do fall into [disuse] and there is a danger that they become a dead letter.”

As an example, he cited the Nathan Dam case, in which he represented the Queensland Conversation Council, for clarifying the law and improving the administration of the legislation.

“If the Queensland Conservation Council had not been able to take that action, you would still have the minister not applying the law 12 or 15 years later,” he said.

If anything, he suggested the government should introduce more generous standing provisions into the state and commonwealth environmental protection regimes.

Mr Keim will be speaking on 6 October at the Banco court at a free forum organised by EDO Queensland: ‘Litigating the Environment – Ideas for the Future’.

Retired Supreme Court judge Alan Wilson will chair and Mr Keim will speak alongside others with a range of viewpoints on public interest environmental litigation.

Like this story? Subscribe to our free newsletter and receive Lawyers Weekly every day straight to your inbox.


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

Environmental laws without public standing are 'a dead letter'
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Aug 23 2017
NT Law Society sounds alarm on mandatory sentencing
The Law Society Northern Territory has issued a warning over mandatory sentencing, saying it hasn’...
Aug 22 2017
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
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 & ...