Research

Research interests

International, regional, and Australian environmental law.
The law, place and geography.
Rights, citizenship and the environment.
Environmental risk, harm and torts.
Environmental policy and politics.
Human geography.
Social science methods in environmental law.
Clinical legal education.

Current and recent research projects

Environmental value conflicts in Tasmanian forestry litigation. As an adjunct to my PhD research, I am researching the existence and character of environmental values evident in the Tasmanian forestry legal disputes played out in the court cases between Senator Bob Brown and Forestry Tasmania concerning the Wielangta Forest. I am in the process of drafting a paper drawn from my review of court materials and participant interviews.

An overview of Vietnam’s environmental laws. As part of Kluwer’s International Encyclopaedia of Law, Dr Tannetje Bryant from Monash University and I are recording and summarising the breadth of environmental laws in Vietnam. This large-scale project began in 2005 and was completed in December 2012, with publication of the monograph in early 2013.

Land use planning, pipelines and the urban fringe. I received a grant from the Energy Pipelines CRC to research the planning law and policy influence on urban development on the fringe, which is increasingly encroaching on pipeline infrastructure. This project was undertaken in 2011 and completed in early 2012. The next stage of this research project is to situate this research within concepts of risk, geography and resilience.

Australian legal geographies. Supported by a network of legal geographers affiliated with the Institute of Australian Geographers, my research explores scale and place within Australian laws and decision making. I have published an article on the scales of justice concerned with the Orange Waste Project, situated the Australian Same Sex Marriage case within personal geographic perspectives, and with Clare McIlwraith critiqued the sexual geography of a recent high profile Australian High Court judgment.

Reflections and perceptions of clinical legal education. With My peers, Claire Carroll and Lucy Quinn, I am researching the value of reflective practice in clinical legal education, using qualitative reflective data, and comparing student perceptions about their learning across clinical and non-clinical legal education.

The jurisprudence of the New South Wales Land and Environment Court. One of my PhD case studies was centred around a judgment of Chief Justice Preston of the Land and Environment Court, and a long term project of mine is to research the relationship between that court and the government during the period of time that the controversial Part 3A planning laws were in force in NSW. In the more immediate term I am collaborating with Professor David Adelman on a paper that charts the development of the principle of ecologically sustainable development during the Preston court.

Models for marine park regulation. With my former colleagues at Freehills, I have published a book chapter offering an overview of marine park regulation in Australia. The next stage in this project is to critique the various models used within Australia to regulate these marine areas.

Environmental discourses in international and public law. With Professor Kim Rubenstein from the ANU College of Law, I co-edited a collection of papers that explore the role of environmental discourses in law reform and other policy development at the international and domestic law realms. I also contributed to the collection. My paper positioned environmental justice as a discourse that has influenced public and international laws. This project began in mid 2009 and was completed in 2011. The book was published in early 2012.

Ecological and environmental justice and Australian environmental law. My PhD research asks whether Australia’s environmental laws are environmentally just. I am applying a theory of environmental justice drawn from environmental philosophy and politics to three case studies: the Channel Deepening Project in Victoria, the Wielangta Forest dispute in Tasmania and the Orange Waste Project. I began my PhD on a part-time basis at the end of 2008 and expect to complete it in 2015.

Human and environmental rights. With Annette Jones I have recently contribute to a book by Associate Professor Anna Grear and Professor Louis Kotze, which brings together commentary and legal analysis from around the globe on the state of human rights and the environment. My research is focused on Australia, offering an overview of legally recognised rights and an analysis of why legal reform inquiries and reviews raise but dash the prospect of recognising human and environmental rights. The next stage in this research is to critically reflect on the portrayal of the South African human right to the environment within Australian policy and scholarship. To facilitate this research I am collaborating with Professor Anel du Plessis at North West University – Potchefstroom.

Justice and the Brookland Greens Estate environmental torts class action. A project in its early stages, I intend to review the causes, regulatory responses and tort action arising from the release of methane gas from a disused landfill that affected residents of the Brookland Greens Estate and offer an environmental justice critique.

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