Environmental and planning law as an area of practice
The complex framework of treaties, regulations, legislation, conventions, and case law that governs how humans interact with the natural world is known as environmental law. Planning lawyers use their knowledge of environmental legislation to advise public and private clients on a variety of challenges, ranging from obtaining licenses and permits for commercial or construction projects to satisfying environmental due diligence requirements. This is a large field of law with both domestic and international practitioners, as well as a variety of subspecialties (for example, native title claims or biodiversity management).
Features of the Environmental and Planning law in Australia
The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, an institution entrusted with tackling issues ranging from air quality and environmental conservation to fuel quality standards and land contamination, is principally in charge of Australian environmental law at the federal level.
The Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1999 is the main piece of federal legislation. Individual states and territories have their environmental protection statutes, which are backed up by other pieces of legislation and international treaties to which Australia is a signatory.
While environmental law is frequently perceived to have certain implicit goals, such as promoting long-term ecological sustainability, it is crucial to highlight that not all work in environmental and planning law is undertaken with such goals in mind. You could be representing organisations that want to obtain natural resources, create huge construction projects, defend against environmental claims, and more.
A career in Environmental and Planning Law in Australia
The complexities and breadth of environmental and planning law are both a boon and a curse. Environmental law addresses a wide range of concerns, from biodiversity conservation and big project applications to pollution control and waste management. Furthermore, as different countries handle the legal difficulties of environmental management in different ways, domestic and international legislation is constantly evolving. This makes environmental law an ideal fit for adaptable and inquisitive graduates who aren’t afraid to invest time in determining which subject of environmental law is best for them.
You will also get the option to collaborate with non-legal professionals such as ecologists, architects, and archaeologists. Given the intricacies of ‘ownership’ when it comes to the environment, the number of stakeholders in environmental issues may surprise you. The government, corporations, local property owners, indigenous groups, and advocacy organisations are examples of these.
Graduates pursuing a career in environmental and planning law, like those in most other legal specialties, should expect close supervision as they learn new skills, master applicable legislation, and create connections with their clients. Given the highly regulated environment, graduates are frequently obliged to conduct an extensive study before presenting findings. Fortunately, there are often opportunities for extra hands-on experience, and graduates can eventually look forward to working with their clients.
In the face of economic volatility, the environmental law part of this expertise is fairly resilient. The planning aspect, on the other hand, is prone to change in response to economic downturns, which can have a significant impact on the rate at which new developments are presented, approved, and erected. You will be able to develop a secure career in either the public or private sector. Select this field of law if you have the following skills:
- Good research abilities, as well as the ability to stand by your conclusions and debate the legal position you have adopted.
- Genuine enthusiasm for environmental law.
- An open mind is especially important when dealing with an environmental incident.
- The capacity to apply the law to a client’s position and commercial activities and provide a viable answer.
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