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The Myth of ‘Green Lawfare’ and ‘Vigilante Litigation' with Justice Rachel Pepper

5 February 2019
5:30pm - 7:30pm
International Towers Sydney
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In this talk, Justice Pepper will discuss the link between access to justice and the maintenance of the rule of law in the context of litigation by community environmental groups directed towards energy project approvals.

The two most common barriers to access to justice are standing and costs. Standing is because it ensures executive action does not exceed, and is in accordance with, the law. Costs can be sizable in environmental litigation, where the competing legal issues often involve complex scientific questions needing costly expert evidence. 

Restricting, or attempting to restrict, the rights of environmental litigants to challenge the lawfulness of executive decision-making is an attack on the rule of law. 

Using words such as ‘green lawfare’ or ‘vigilante litigation’ to debase attempts of advocates to effect environmental change has the very real prospect of undermining the rule of law and further eroding the public’s faith in the institutions that are critical to our democratic system.

Location: Level 46, Tower One, International Towers Sydney 100 Barangaroo Avenue Barangaroo, NSW 2000

This event is supported by:

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Justice Rachel Pepper headshot black and white

Justice Rachel Pepper

Justice Pepper was appointed as a Judge of the Land and Environment Court of NSW in May 2009. 


From 1997 until her appointment in 2009, Justice Pepper practised as a barrister at the New South Wales Bar.  Her principal areas of practice were general commercial law and public law, including constitutional and administrative law.  While at the bar, Justice Pepper was a member of Bar Council from 2000-2009 and was Secretary of the Bar Council from 2006 to 2009.


Prior to being called to the bar, Justice Pepper was the Associate to Justice Michael McHugh AC in the High Court of Australia.


In March 2015 Justice Pepper was the inaugural judge-in-residence at the Australian National University’s Centre for International and Public Law at the ANU College of Law.


In 2017 she was appointed Chair of the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing of Onshore Unconventional Gas Reservoirs and Associated Activities in the Northern Territory.


She is Vice President of the Australian Association of Constitutional Law and is a committee member of the Australian Institute of Administrative Law (NSW Chapter).


She has previously lectured in law at UTS and UNSW and is currently a guest lecturer in Environmental Litigation at the Faculty of Law at Sydney University.


She is currently an ambassador for Twenty10.