Pro Bono partnerships : community lawyering to promote environmental justice

McNamara, Judith, Maguire, Rowena, & Hamman, Evan (2013) Pro Bono partnerships : community lawyering to promote environmental justice. In 2nd Southeast Asia/Asia Pro Bono Conference & Workshop, 11 - 12 October 2013, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam. (Unpublished)


Rural communities across Australia are increasingly being asked to shoulder the environmental and social impacts of intensive mining and gas projects. Escalating demand for coal seam gas (CSG) is raising significant environmental justice issues for rural communities. Chief amongst environmental concerns are risks of contamination or depletion of vital underground aquifers as well as treatment and disposal of high-saline water close to high quality agricultural soils. Associated infrastructure such as pipelines, electricity lines, gas processing and port facilities can also adversely affect communities and ecosystems great distances from where the gas is originally extracted. Whilst community submission (and appeal) rights do exist, accessing expert independent information is challenging, legal terminology is complex and submission periods are short, leading ultimately to a lack of procedural justice for landholders and their communities. Since August 2012, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) has worked in partnership with not-for-profit legal centre - Queensland’s Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) - to help better educate communities about mining and CSG assessment processes. The project, now entering its third semester, aims to empower communities to access relevant information and actively engage in legal processes on their own behalf. Students involved in the project so far have helped to research chapters of a comprehensive community guide to mining and CSG law as well as organising multidisciplinary community forums and preparing information on land access and compensation rights for landholders. While environmental justice issues still exist without significant law reform, the project has led to greater awareness amongst the community of the laws relating the CSG. At the same time, it has led to a greater understanding by students and academics of real life environmental justice issues currently faced by rural communities.

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ID Code: 62939
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Keywords: LJHERN, Legal Education, Legal Clinic, Community lawyering, Environmental Law Clinic, Access to Justice
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Access to Justice (180102)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Environmental and Natural Resources Law (180111)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 26 Sep 2013 22:22
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2013 22:22

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