FREEHILLS PARTNER John Taberner and senior associate Paul Branston have just completed a series of presentations to clients and other Freehills solicitors around Australia on recent developments in the climate change arena.
Some of key developments that were discussed were the recent ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, the commencement of the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act earlier this year and the likely implementation of a national emissions trading scheme. According to Taberner, these rapid regulatory developments mean that what was once a largely voluntary matter for businesses has increasingly become a high priority commercial concern.
He explained that the aim of the presentations was to drive home the fact that businesses are becoming increasingly subject to legislative requirements and that they should be positioning themselves in a way that they can best deal with the regulation.
Taberner believes that lawyers are now taking these developments very seriously and that law firms no longer consider climate change to be a “sideline issue”.
“I think there’s a good groundswell of personal interest in the issues, but also people are seeing a real professional context in which these issues now operate. The primary driver of this is that policy has become much more mature and clearly it’s got commercial implications,” Taberner said.
Another focus of the presentations was to explain the structure of Freehills’ climate change practice group. Taberner explained that climate change involves issues that reach beyond the field of traditional environmental law practice. Accordingly, Freehills have taken a “cross-disciplinary” approach and are involving lawyers from both the environmental law and corporate groups.
NT moves to abolish age limit on jurors
THE NORTHERN Territory Government has introduced an amendment Bill into Parliament to abolish the age limit on jurors in the territory.
NT Attorney-General Chris Burns said that the reforms are a response to the shortage of eligible jurors in the territory, particularly in smaller centres like Alice Springs.
The amendment Bill proposes that over-65s will be eligible for service, but will be able to excuse themselves if they so choose.
“This is an important step forward to increase the pool of jurors, but also gives those people who are over 65 a chance to continue on giving to the community”, Dr Burns said.