Welcome to SydneyEnviroLaw

Welcome to SydneyEnviroLaw, the blog of the Australian Centre for Climate and Environmental Law (ACCEL) at Sydney Law School, the University of Sydney. ACCEL’s mission is to encourage, promote and support innovative and important scholarship, including teaching, research, consultancy and public interest advocacy, in all areas of climate and environmental law and policy. Our members have wide-ranging research interests, including Climate Disaster Law, International Environmental Law and the Law of the Sea, International Wildlife Law, Judicial Review and Water Law, and teach in a broad range of areas related to environmental law, including in the Sydney Law School’s Master of Environmental Law and Master of Environmental Law and Science programs. More specifically, our recent research has included scholarship on International Law and the Anthropocene, defining climate disasters through a Capabilities Approach, and the role of law in supporting environmental water transactions. The blog will provide updates on the research of academic staff affiliated with ACCEL, as well as guest posts and information about recent developments and events in environmental law and governance in Australia and around the world. This first post introduces our main contributors and their interests. We look forward to sharing our insights on environmental law and governance, and we hope you will enjoy our blog.

2016 promises to be an exciting year. We have already hosted a very successful conference in February on the Legal Implications of the Paris Agreement. The event was an opportunity to bring together leading experts on climate change from around the world and featured keynote presentations from Professor Richard Stewart (NYU School of Law), Professor Jonathan Verschuuren (Tilburg Law School) and Advocate Mr Roger Cox who mounted the litigation in Urgenda Foundation v The State of the Netherlands, and presentations from Professor Rosemary Lyster (Sydney Law School), Associate Professor Jeff McGee (University of Tasmania), Dr Peter Lawrence (University of Tasmania), Associate Professor Ed Couzens (Sydney Law School), Dr Kate Owens (Sydney Law School) and Mr Danny Noonan (Our Children’s Trust). Audio files of all presentations are now available.

Other exciting initiatives in 2016 will include visits from Philippe Sands and Peter Sand later this year, so please watch this space!

Associate Professor Ed Couzens

Profile Pic Couzens

Ed Couzens joined the Sydney Law School in early 2015 from the School of Law, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa, where he lectured for 14 years and held the position of Associate Professor from 2009. He is an attorney of the High Court, South Africa; and holds the degrees of BA Hons LLB (from the University of the Witwatersrand), LLM Environmental Law (awarded jointly by the Universities of Natal and Nottingham), and PhD (from the University of KwaZulu-Natal).

Ed has been recognized as an ‘Established Researcher’ by South Africa’s National Research Foundation for the years 2013-2018. He has taught on the University of Eastern Finland – United Nations Environment Programme Course on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (www.uef.fi/unep) every year since 2004; and was the IUCN AEL Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, in January 2015, where he taught a course on ‘international wildlife and conservation law’.

He has been an assistant editor/editor on the South African Journal of Environmental Law and Policy since 2001; and a co-editor on the University of Eastern Finland – United Nations Environment Programme Review of International Environmental Law-making and Diplomacy since 2006. From 2015 he will be an editor on the Asia Pacific Journal of Environmental Law; and a member of the Advisory Board of Transnational Environmental Law. He was the Deputy-Director in 2015 of the Australian Centre for Climate and Environmental Law (ACCEL) at the Sydney Law School; and will be the Director going forward in 2016.
He was an executive member of the Environmental Law Association of South Africa (www.elasa.co.za) from 2010 until 2014; and remains a non-executive member. He has attended more than 40 conferences, presenting papers at most; has attended four Meetings of the International Whaling Commission (2007, 2011, 2012 and 2014) as a member of the South African delegation; and attended the 17th CoP of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (2011).

Ed has also been a qualified Field Guide in South Africa since 1997.

Professor Rosemary Lyster

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Rosemary Lyster is the Professor of Climate and Environmental Law in the Faculty of Law, and the Leader of the Discipline.

Rosemary is internationally recognised for her research in the area of Climate Law, and has published three books with Cambridge University Press in the area of Energy and Climate Law, including a new monograph Climate Justice and Disaster Law in 2015. Rosemary is also the principal author of Rosemary Lyster, Zada Lipman, Nicola Franklin, Graeme Wiffen, Linda Pearson, Environmental and Planning Law in New South Wales, 3rd Edition (Federation Press: 2012).

In 2013, Rosemary was appointed a Herbert Smith Freehills Visiting Professor at Cambridge Law School and was a Visiting Scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge in 2009 and in 2014. Rosemary is also the Energy and Water Special Editor of the Environmental and Planning Law Journal, which is the leading environmental law journal in Australia. Her affiliations include the IUCN – The World Conservation Union Commission on Environmental Law, comprising environmental lawyers from around the world, as well as the Commission’s Special Working Groups on Energy and Climate Change, Water and Wetlands, and Forests.

Dr Kate Owens

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Kate Owens is a Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of Sydney, specialising in environmental law. She researches and teaches in the areas of water law, mining law, International and Australian environmental law and environmental regulation and governance, and is currently writing a book on environmental water markets and regulation. Kate is the Deputy Director of the Australian Centre for Climate and Environmental Law and the Book Review editor for the Asia-Pacific Journal of Environmental Law. Prior to her appointment, Kate practised for a number of years in State Government and leading commercial firms in Australia and New Zealand, providing advice and litigation services in relation to a range of environmental, planning, administrative and public law matters.

Professor Tim Stephens

Profile Pic Stephens

Professor Tim Stephens is Professor of International Law and Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the University of Sydney. He is President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law. Tim teaches and researches in public international law, with his published work focussing on the international law of the sea, international environmental law and international dispute settlement. He has published over 80 articles, book chapters and notes in Australian and international publications and has authored, co-authored or edited seven books. Major career works include The International Law of the Sea (Hart, 2nd edition, 2016) with Donald R Rothwell and International Courts and Environmental Protection (Cambridge University Press, 2009). In 2010 Tim was awarded the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Academy of Environmental Law Junior Scholarship Prize for ‘outstanding scholarship and contributions in the field of international environmental law’. He has been a consultant for several non-governmental organisations, including a long association of work for the International Fund for Animal Welfare in relation to cetacean conservation. In 2014, Tim was appointed, on the nomination of the Australian Government, to the List of Experts for the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation. Between 2010 and 2013 Tim was Co-Director of the Sydney Centre for International Law. Tim has a PhD in law from the University of Sydney, an M.Phil in geography from the University of Cambridge, and a BA and LLB (both with Honours) from the University of Sydney. He is admitted as a legal practitioner in the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

Ably assisted by:
Ms Johanne Brady


Jo Brady joined ACCEL in 2010 as the Administration Assistant. Jo assists with coordinating ACCEL’s annual reports and newsletters, website content and updates, events, and journal administration. Jo is also a PhD candidate for the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research, in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney. Jo graduated from the University of NSW in 2011 with Honours (1) in Sociology and was awarded the Sol Encel prize. Her research focuses on ageing, health and Parkinson’s disease.

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