Restorative justice conferencing: Furthering the democratisation of environmental and planning dispute resolution in New South Wales, Australia

Mark Hamilton

mark.hamilton@unsw.edu.au

The views expressed in this presentation are those of the author as are any errors.

Environmental and planning law crime and conflict causes harm to both humans and non-humans. Human victims include those presently living and future generations. Non-human victims include flora (plants), fauna (animals), ecosystems and the environment generally. The Land and Environment Court of New South Wales (NSWLEC), the court in which environmental and planning law offending is prosecuted in New South Wales, has the power to implement a plethora of orders following prosecution of such offending or following civil enforcement proceedings which may be undertaken as an alternative to prosecution. Despite the wide breadth of such orders it must be questioned how effective those orders are at restoring the environment and repairing fractured relationships, occasioned by environmental and planning law offending, in situations where offender and victim dialogue regarding the offence is minimal or non-existent or where offender and victim input into the formulation of orders following offending is minimal or non-existent.

This presentation proposes that restorative justice conferencing furthers the democratisation of environmental and planning dispute resolution in New South Wales, Australia. It does so by facilitating stakeholder participation and input into order formulation following environmental and planning law crime and conflict. The benefit of such democratisation is that it results in better outcomes, both procedurally and substantively. Such conferencing furthers the democratisation of environmental and planning dispute resolution afforded by objector appeals pertaining to designated development and public interest litigation.

Biography

BSC LLB (UoW), MEL LLM (USyd), MPP (Macq). The author is currently undertaking his PhD in Law at UNSW under the joint supervision of Associate Professor Cameron Holley (Faculty of Law) and Dr Jane Bolitho (Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences), exploring the applicability of restorative justice intervention to environmental and planning law from multiple perspectives. The author currently teaches in the Bachelor of Criminology program at the UNSW. The author was formerly a solicitor in an environmental and planning law practice in Sydney, and a former tipstaff to a Land and Environment Court of New South Wales judge.

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