New developments in the legal status of rivers
Level 9, Room 920
Melbourne Law School, Building 106
185 Pelham Street
This event is part of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance workshop series on Exploring the Legal Status of Nature.
In 2017, four rivers have been given the status of legal persons: the Whanganui in NZ, the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers in India and the Rio Atrato in Colombia. In Victoria, the state government has committed to establishing the 'Birrarung Council' to be the voice of the Yarra River. These unprecedented developments have fundamentally altered the legal status of rivers in law. Will they also help us to protect them?
Researchers, legal practitioners and students are invited to a workshop at Melbourne Law School on Friday 11 August 2017, to hear more about these fascinating developments in the legal status of rivers. This workshop is jointly hosted by the Australian Earth Laws Alliance and the Centre of Resources, Energy and Environment Law.
Presenters at the workshop include:
• Michelle Maloney (Convenor, Australian Earth Laws Alliance) Exploring the Legal Status of Nature
• Erin O’Donnell (Senior Fellow, CREEL) Legal Rights for Rivers: the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers, India
• Julia Talbot-Jones (ANU, Crawford School) Legal Rights for the Whanganui River, New Zealand
• Dr Elizabeth Macpherson (University of Canterbury) and Lisa Caripis (Transparency International) Legal Rights for the Rio Atrato, Colombia
• Bruce Lindsay (Environmental Justice Australia) Yarra River Protection Act: A New Statutory Process
• Trent Wallis (Co-Executive Officer, Victorian Environmental Water Holder) Environmental water rights for rivers in Victoria.
The workshop will include presentations from the speakers, a Q&A session, followed by a short tea and coffee break. The final part of the workshop will include the opportunity to develop ideas and responses to the growing momentum of legal rights for nature, and the opportunities and challenges this new legal status creates for the protection of the environment.
Attendance is free, but please RSVP for planning and catering purposes.
If you have any queries, please contact:
• Erin O’Donnell - email@example.com
• Christine Parker - Christine.firstname.lastname@example.org
• Michelle Maloney - email@example.com
To learn more about the changing legal status of rivers, have a listen to the podcast at:
You can also read the work of the presenters at:
This workshop is also part of a broader research and publication project run by the Australian Earth Laws Alliance on the legal status of nature, and provides an opportunity to contribute to an emerging field of law and policy.
For more information on the broader project, ‘Exploring the Legal Status of Nature’, please see https://www.earthlaws.org.au/?p=4574
If you would like further information on the broader project, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Photo of the Yarra River by Nick Carson
Bruce Lindsay, Environmental Justice Australia
Environmental Justice Australia
Lawyer Bruce researches and writes on topics from environmental offsets, water law and native vegetation clearing. He also engages with community members and stakeholders on our campaigns, and leads our Yarra River Protection Act campaign. As well as his law degree, Bruce holds a PhD in Administrative Law, a BA (Hons) in Political Science & Government, and a Masters of Environmental Science. He has previously worked as a student advocate, a project officer at Trust for Nature and a lecturer in Law at Deakin University.
Lisa Caripis, University of Melbourne
University of Melbourne
Lisa has a long standing research interest in climate change and renewable energy law and policy. Her work on Australia's carbon pricing mechanism has been published in international journals, including Nature Climate Change. More recently Lisa worked on a project funded by the Victorian Centre for Climate Change Adaptation Research (VCCCAR).
Ms Julia Talbot-Jones, Australian National University
Ms Julia Talbot-Jones
Australian National University
My research is examining a new institutional arrangement recently proposed for the governance of public goods and common pool resources, which integrates indigenous worldviews into western legal frameworks. In Aotearoa/New Zealand it was recently proposed to grant the Whanganui River its own “independent voice” and legal rights to ecosystem health. This means that in a Court of Law the Whanganui River will be recognised as a person, its rights to be represented by appointed “guardians”.
Erin O'Donnell, Senior Fellow, University of Melbourne Law School
Senior Fellow, University of Melbourne Law School
University of Melbourne
Erin O'Donnell has worked as a private consultant and for government in environmental management and water governance since 2003. She is currently completing her PhD on the governance of environmental water at the University of Melbourne Law School.
Dr Michelle Maloney, Convenor
Dr Michelle Maloney
Australian Earth Laws Alliance
Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science and History) and Laws (Honours) from the Australian National University and a PhD in Law from Griffith University. She has 25 years’ experience designing and managing climate change, sustainability and environmental justice projects in Australia, the United Kingdom and the USA, and this includes ten years working with indigenous colleagues in Central Queensland on a range of community development, sustainability and cultural heritage projects. Michelle met and fell in love with Earth jurisprudence and Wild Law in 2009 and since 2011 has been working to promote the understanding and practical implementation of Earth centred law, governance and ethics in Australia through her work with AELA. AELA PROJECTS As CoFounder and National Convenor of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance, Michelle manages the strategic direction and governance of the organisation, including the extensive partnerships and networks that AELA has with the legal, academic and environmental advocacy communities. Michelle also designs and manages AELA programs and events, including AELA’s Rights of Nature Tribunals, and coordinates the work of more than 20 fantastic multidisciplinary professional and student volunteers around Australia. Michelle is a lively, entertaining and informative public speaker who has spoken about Earth jurisprudence and Wild Law at more than 100 events over the past three years and is keen to keep connecting with people through her public speaking, workshops and other events. Now that she has emerged from her PhD cocoon, she is looking forward to writing (solo and collaboratively) on a wide range of Earth laws topics. Her publications, conference papers and public speaking events are listed below. TEACHING Michelle is committed to Earth laws education and in 2015 she taught Earth jurisprudence for a semester at the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, in Florida USA. Michelle created Australia’s first university level course on Earth laws, which was taught at Griffith University Law School in Brisbane, in December 2016. The course is now offered as an annual intensive – for more information please click here to visit our AELA Education webpage. Michelle also teaches an Earth laws class in the Griffith University’s College of Art ‘in field’ art course, run by Associate Professor Marian Drew, offered each year as a winter intensive and runs adult education workshops and seminars. CURRENT RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS Michelle is passionate about researching and disseminating information about how we can create legal and governance structures to help us reduce consumption and live within our ecological limits. To this end, she is currently working with AELA’s Scientific Advisory Group to research new models for Earth centred, bioregional governance, as part of AELA’s ‘GreenPrints‘ project. She is working to transform her PhD thesis – “Regulating consumption in industrialised nations” – into a series of AELA publications and is also working on a series of publications linked to AELA’s Ecological Limits Project: “Let’s talk about consumption”. Michelle is also passionate about promoting new ways of thinking about environmental governance and the rights of nature. She has recently launched a new research and writing project for AELA called ‘Exploring the Legal Status of Nature’, and has just completed editing a book with Dr Nicole Rogers of the Southern Cross University, which emerged from the Wild Law Judgements Project. This project involved more than 20 authors rewriting common law judgements from an Earth centred, rather than a humancentred perspective, and the book will be available in mid 2017. AFFILIATIONS AND ASSOCIATIONS CoFounder and National Convenor, Australian Earth Laws Alliance Chairperson, Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) Queensland Steering Group, New Economy Network Australia (NENA) Executive Committee, Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature Executive Committee, Ecological Law and Governance Association (ELGA) Member, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law Member, UN Harmony with Nature Knowledge Network International Coordinating Team, Yes to Life – No to Mining