Environment and Planning Law


What we do

The NSW Young Lawyers Environment and Planning Law Committee delves into all aspects of environment and planning law, raising awareness across the legal profession and the wider community about new and upcoming changes to both NSW and national legislation, as well developments in case law and policy. Joining the Committee provides members with the opportunity to get involved in topical programmes ranging from the preparation of submissions on law and policy reform, to co-ordinating and attending charity fundraising events and targeted CPD programs. The Committee also provides an essential networking platform for students and lawyers working across all aspects of environment and planning law. Whether your interest is in planning, biodiversity, agriculture, climate change, mining, forestry or water, our committee brings together a network of enthusiastic practitioners to discuss their shared interest in the environment.

If you are a practicing solicitor or law student and have an interest in laws and new developments affecting our environment, then the Environment and Planning Law Committee is for you. No prior experience is necessary, and any young lawyer or law student is more than welcome to come to our meetings, and sign up to our mailing list to receive updates on our upcoming events and new developments in environment and planning law.

Our initiatives

The Environment and Planning Law Committee uses the collective legal skills and knowledge of our members to raise the profile of environmental and planning law issues throughout the profession and the community.

Our work includes hands-on environmental activities, community forums on environmental law issues, submission-writing and professional development seminars.

Our activities include:

  • Drafting law reform submissions to government and parliament
  • Delivering a diverse and tailored Continuing Legal Education (CLE) program for young lawyers and the environment and planning law profession.
  • Organising Free Public Forums
  • Raising money for charity at our Annual Trivia Night Extravaganza.
  • Publishing a Guide to the Land and Environment Court
  • Hosting guest speakers at our Committee meetings
  • Publishing articles in the Lawbook Co. Local Government Law Journal
  • Participating in Clean-Up Australia Day annually
  • Holding our annual Environment and Planning Law Essay Competition for young lawyers and law students.
  • Actively engaging in the National Environmental Law Association (NELA), the NSW Environment and Planning Law Association (EPLA), Women Lawyers Association of NSW, the Professional Environmental Women’s Association (PEWA), and the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law.

Who we are

Chair: Alistair Knox
Vice Chair: Jane Dillon
Secretary: Peter Clarke


Environment and Planning Law Careers Guide 2012

Environment and planning law is a growing and diverse area of law.  Created by members of the NSW Young Lawyers Environment and Planning Law Committee, this guide is intended to assist young lawyers take their first steps into a career in environment and planning law.

Employment and unpaid internship opportunities exist for environment and planning lawyers across public and regulatory, private and public interest sectors. This publication endeavours to capture, promote and encourage awareness of the diversity of interesting and rewarding opportunities available to young lawyers as they navigate this growing area.

Download the Careers Guide 2012

A Practitioner's Guide to the Land & Environment Court NSW

This publication offers a general introduction to the particular system of rules and practice notes of  the Court and is aimed at young and new practitioners, as well as unrepresented litigants. The online version of the 3rd Edition was updated on 30 June 2010 with a new Chapter 12, entitled Class 8 Proceedings in the Land and Environment Court. Please note that Chapter 12 is not included in the printed edition.

Download updated version


When does the Committee hold its meetings?

Our meetings are held on the third Tuesday of every month (excluding January), alternating between lunch time (1-2pm) and evening (6-7pm). Click on monthly meetings to see all of the dates.

I'm a law student, can I come along to Committee meetings and get involved?

Yes. Students enrolled in a course of studies approved by the Solicitors and Barristers Admissions Board, the successful completion of which leads to the entitlement to apply for admission to practice as a lawyer or legal practitioner in NSW, are automatically members of Young Lawyers.

I live in a rural area, can I still get involved with the Committee?

Yes. We have teleconference facilities available for all of our Committee meetings and would love to have you join us.

I don't have any experience in Environment and Planning Law, can I still get involved?

Yes. Previous experience or knowledge of Environment and Planning Law is not required. An interest and willingness to get involved is enough.

What areas of law does the Committee focus on?

Environment and Planning Law covers a diverse area of legislation and common law. Some of the areas of law that the Committee discusses and makes submissions in relation to include climate change, sustainability, mining, native vegetation, threatened species, land contamination, development assessment, strategic planning and heritage.

What types of activities does the Committee do?

The Committee's main activities include:

  • Preparing submissions on Environment and Planning Law reforms and policy initiatives
  • Arranging CLEs on Environment and Planning Law topics
  • Arranging fundraising events for Environmental and Planning Law charities - including our Annual Trivia Extravaganza
  • Arranging an Annual Environment and Planning Law Essay Competition
  • Publication of the Guides and articles to assist young lawyers in the Environment and Planning Law sphere

I really like Environment and Planning Law but don't know what kinds of jobs are available - can you help?

Absolutely. You can download the Environment and Planning Law Careers Guide 2012 that we have prepared.

Do you have any resources to assist with my first appearance in the Land and Environment Court?

Yes. You can download A Practitioner's Guide to the Land & Environment Court that we have prepared.