Following on from the announcement of the confirmed speakers for Plenary Session 4 Access to Environmental Justice, the Organizing Committee is delighted to profile Justice Brian Preston, Chief Judge, Land and Environment Court of NSW, who will present a paper on “The effectiveness of the law in providing access to environmental justice: an introduction” on Friday 28 June: 9.00am-11.00am.


Justice Brian Preston is the Chief Judge of the Land and Environment Court in New South Wales. Prior to being appointed in 2005, he was a senior counsel practising primarily in environmental, planning, administrative and property law.

He is an Adjunct Professor at Sydney Law School and has lectured in post-graduate environmental law for over 20 years, both in Australia and overseas. He is the author of Australia’s first book on environmental litigation (in 1989) and 76 articles, book chapters and reviews on environmental, administrative and criminal law.

Justice Preston has been involved in a number of international environmental consultancies and capacity-building programs, including for the judiciaries in Indonesia, Kenya, China, Trinidad and Tobago, Thailand and Sri Lanka.

He received in 2010 an award by the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN) in recognition of his outstanding leadership and commitment in promoting effective environmental adjudication in Asia.

Abstract: The effectiveness of the law in providing access to environmental justice: an introduction

Environmental justice includes at least three concepts: distributive justice, procedural justice and justice as recognition. The law can help or hinder access to justice in these three senses.

Access to distributive justice is promoted by the law giving substantive rights to share in environmental benefits (such as clean air, water and land, greenspace, and a healthful ecology) and to prevent, mitigate, remediate or be compensated for environmental burdens (such as air, water, land and noise pollution, and loss of greenspace, biological diversity and ecological integrity).

Access to procedural justice is promoted by the law giving procedural rights to have access to environmental information, be entitled to participate in environmental decision-making, and have access to review procedures before a court or tribunal to challenge decision-making or impairment of substantive or procedural rights.

Access to justice as recognition is promoted by the law not only giving substantive and procedural rights but also by equal recognition of different social groups and communities, and of the natural environment and components of it.

The paper will highlight aspects in which the law is helping or hindering access to environmental justice in these senses, with a particular focus on New South Wales, Australia.

Trevor Daya-Winterbottom
Organizing Committee: 11th IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium 2013