Legal Practice and Policy Community of Practice

A space for legal practitioners and policy makers to build a repository of shared knowledge, legal issues and achievements in regulation.


A space for legal practitioners and policy makers to build a repository of shared knowledge, legal issues and achievements in regulation.


Ellen Chapple

Chair, NSW EPA

Tom Carr

Chair, NSW EPA

Monica Collins

Steering Committee Sponsor, Commonwealth

Current Projects

Australian Environmental Prosecutions Information Repository

This project will enable Australian environmental regulators with simplified access to information about relevant prosecutions. Effective and timely prosecutions of environmental offences, accompanied by sentencing which achieves the anticipated or expected specific and general deterrence, is of increasingly high priority to the community and government. Prosecution outcomes are highly visible to the media (including social), with increased commentary as to how effectively the prosecution was conducted at all stages along the investigation and conduct of the matter in court.

Many environmental prosecutions are conducted in the lower courts, and consequently unreported. However, these decisions can be influential in similar interstate prosecutions. Further, litigation lawyers in AELERT member agencies could benefit from learnings regarding the conduct of environmental prosecutions, and the nuances employed by both the prosecution and defence, resulting in sentencing outcomes.

Past Projects

Recovering the economic benefit from environmental crime

Jurisdictions have individually been working in this space for some time. If after a penalty is paid an offender still profits by noncompliance there is little incentive to comply. The removal of monetary benefit from offenders will ensure offenders are properly penalised, deter future noncompliance and level the playing field for compliant operators who are currently disadvantaged by investing in compliant operation while non-compliant competitors obtain an economic advantage over their competitors. Since 2011 the Legal Practice and Policy Working Group has been the vehicle for collaboration and the evolution of a monetary benefit toolkit (MBTK) which supports the NEAT model (Non-compliance, economic assessment tool) that Vic EPA has developed. The purpose of the model is to provide an independent analytical tool to assist agencies to quantify the economic benefit that may accrue to a business from delayed or avoided compliance with environmental laws. The use of the model has obvious benefits in Court room sentencing and the Group is further examining additional ‘non-courtroom’ uses for the model.

How to get involved

There’s lots of ways that you can benefit from or get involved with our cluster activities:

  1. Join a Community of Practice
  2. Join meetings, forum discussions and share resources
  3. Participate in a Working Group project
  4. Nominate a project or initiative that you’d like to see the Cluster work on in the future