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Environmental lawyering and professional responsibilities in crisis?

Monday, 11 September 2023, 4.00-5.30pm, Room 317A discussion with Steven VaughanAs a species and as a planet, we are facing significant environmental harms, many of which are highly likely to only get worse over time - climate change, air pollution, biodiversity loss, deforestation, chemical harms, waste pollution, poor water quality, and so on. Somewhere in the story of each of these forms of environmental harm are environmental lawyers. They work in law firms large and small; they work for the government and regulators as civil servants; they work in-house in large corporations and charities. These lawyers lubricate, lobby, legislate, and litigate for their clients. In his recent inaugural professorial lecture and paper, Professor Steven Vaughan has suggested that some of the environmental harms that environmental lawyers help their clients bring about, ‘perfectly legally’, raise important and significant questions about the ethics of that lawyering. Do environmental lawyers do things that cost society – in the form of environmental harms – too much? And does legal ethics (written down in regulatory rulebooks and, more generally, in the theories of lawyers’ ethics) help or hinder those actions?In September we hosted a discussion with Steven Vaughan about environmental lawyering and professional responsibilities and also heard from other legal scholars and practitioners working on lawyers’ roles and responsibilities in our current environmental predicament.Co-hosted by CREEL, Melbourne Climate Futures, and the Australian Legal Ethics Network at Melbourne Law School.A discussion with Steven Vaughan about environmental lawyering and professional responsibilities.

Scenery of StrawtownKoteewi
Buildings and greenery
Fish between green corals
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