Minter Ellison has teamed up with Queensland University of Technology (QUT), sponsoring a PhD scholarship in climate change law worth almost $100,000.
The industry-sponsored scholarship highlights the growing commercial significance of climate change in Australian law firms, and the urgent need to reduce the lag-time between new regulations and academic research in the area.
Minter Ellison climate change practice co-head Duncan McGregor identified several rapidly developing areas of law that will be hotspots for research, including emissions trading, carbon capture and storage and the liability associated with greenhouse emissions.
Tertiary or specialist legal training in climate change law is a relatively recent development, and most climate change lawyers bring their expertise from other practice areas of law to bear on this rapidly evolving area of law. McGregor came into the practice from an environmental planning/project approvals background, and said that inter-disciplinary practice is the most common pathway into climate change law.
"Minters has taken on some lawyers directly in relation to pick up climate change expertise, but I'd say most of our climate change practitioners have come through the firm and have developed their expertise through experiences within their own practice groups," McGregor said.
"Our climate change team picks up partners and lawyers with a wide range of expertise, from environmental through to resources and energy, more directly commercial [lawyers], through to tax and a wide range of other areas as well."
A member of the Minter Ellison climate change team will sit on the selection panel for the scholarship along with representatives from QUT. The closing date for applications is 22 May 2009.
See http://www.rsc.qut.edu.au/future/apply/domestic.jsp for further information and application details.
- Laura MacIntyre