Legal advice, community legal education and law reform

Legal advice

EDOWA provides free legal advice on matters of public interest environmental law. Please refer to our factsheets for a basic guide to environment law.

In deciding whether the EDO should act in a particular matter an EDO lawyer will be guided by the EDO’s assessment criteria.

Assessment criteria

  1. The matter must relate to an environmental issue and be in the public interest.
  2. To determine whether the matter is in the public interest the following should be considered:
    1.  Is the matter being raised primarily for the benefit of more than one person?
    2. Does the matter offer an opportunity to set a useful precedent that would benefit many other people in similar or comparable circumstances?
    3. Is providing legal assistance the only way (or the most efficient way) to resolve the issue?
    4. Would organisations other than the EDO be better placed to assist (eg: because of their expertise)?
    5. Does the person represent other people (including members if the person is a body corporate)?
    6. Does the apparent legal ground(s) of the complaint (such as a ground of review) itself raise a matter of general or environmental concern (such as a right to be consulted, or taking into consideration environmental issues in granting a land use approval), or does it raise some other (e.g. technical town planning ) issue?
    7. Does the matter entail defending or furthering a positive result achieved earlier by, or through the involvement of, the EDO?
  3. The impact on the EDO’s resources may also be considered, and in particular:
    1. the amount of resources needed to resolve the matter;
    2. whether the person sought legal assistance from other sources or can afford to do so;
    3. whether the matter offers opportunities for the EDO to gain experience, materials, contacts etc that are likely to be helpful to the EDO in future.

Where an owner or occupier of land seeks legal advice concerning a development which has or will have an effect on the value of that person’s land or on his/her enjoyment of that land, the request for legal advice will not be accepted unless there is a substantial public interest in doing so.  Advice should not be provided concerning legal liability for contaminated sites unless there is a substantial public interest in doing so.

Legal representation

Where it is apparent from the application for legal assistance that to assist would require the EDO to engage in litigation, the Principal Solicitor can consider providing litigation assistance.  In determining the application for legal assistance, EDOWA will be guided by the EDO’s assessment criteria.

Giving legal advice in a matter will not automatically commit the EDO to providing legal representation in that matter.

Other Areas in which the EDO will not provide advice

The following is a list of Matters in which the EDO does not provide advice, even where there is an environmental public interest dimension to the matter:

  • Incorporation of associations & drafting of rules
  • Tax
  • Meeting procedures
  • Internal disputes of associations
  • Insurance
  • Property
  • Leases
  • Trade practices issues, for example product endorsement

If you are seeking legal advice please telephone, contact us or complete the form below.

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