Australian Institute of Administrative Law

Webinar on Environmental law and populism with Justice Brian Preston of the NSWLEC

19 Nov

Late afternoon webinar 


Environmental Law and Populism: The End of Enlightened Environmental Law?


Presenter:The Hon Justice Brian Preston   

Chair:Tim Horton


The rise of populism threatens enlightened environmental law. In an age where ignorance is seen as a virtue, not a vice, environmental laws risk regression. No longer are debates about environmental problems driven by opinions founded on evidence, scientific method and reason. Instead, these debates, and how the law should address them, are driven by differing ways of viewing the world. Populists play on cultural biases and intuitive reasoning, personalise politics and use seductive slogans to distort the reality of environmental problems. As we become further estranged from our natural environment, people no longer can verify or deny these populist claims. This comment examines some of the ways populism has taken hold of environmental governance and how it might be addressed.


The Hon. Justice Brian J Preston FRSN SC is the Chief Judge of the NSW Land and Environment Court. Prior to this appointment in November 2005, he was a senior counsel practising primarily in NSW in environmental, planning, administrative and property law. He has lectured in post-graduate environmental law for nearly 30 years and is the author of Australia’s first book on environmental litigation. Justice Preston is an Official Member of the Judicial Commission of NSW, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, the Royal Society of NSW and Honorary Fellow of the Environment Institute of the Australia and New Zealand. He is a member of various international environmental law committees and advisory boards, and is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney, Western Sydney University and Southern Cross University.

Commissioner Timothy Horton is a Sydney-based architect with an enduring interest in the policies and practices that shape the built environment. With degrees in environmental science and architecture, he registered as an architect in 2000 and worked in small and large practice for almost 20 years until his interests in public policy and design collided - leading to his appointment as Commissioner for Integrated Design by South Australian Premier Mike Rann in 2010, then Registrar of the NSW Architects Registration Board until 2018 when he was appointed a Commissioner of the Land and Environment Court of NSW.

Date:Thursday 19 November 2020

Time:5.00 pm AEDT (Qld 4.00pm; SA 4.30pm; WA 2.00pm)

Teleconference via Zoom

The webinar is open to all members of the AIAL and to any interested members of the public. Admission is free, butregistration is required. Except in WA, CLE/CPD points are available if this educational activity is relevant to your immediate or long term needs in relation to your professional development and practice of the law. Please contact your local law society for further details. Any WA practitioners attending should note this event is not currently covered by AIAL WA Chapter QA accreditation, although the WA Chapter is exploring options.

Please book via the TryBooking link below

Inquiries can be directed to the AIAL Secretariat.

Australian Institute of Administrative Law (AIAL)


Ph: 02 6290 1505; Fax: 02 6290 1580


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