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Individual and student membership
Anyone with an interest in environmental law and policy can join NELA, with their membership renewed every 12 months.
NELA's present membership includes lawyers, academics, civil servants, librarians, town planners, environmental consultants, architects, and law students - across our membership categories.
Corporate membership is open to any organisation that agrees with NELA's purposes, joining on behalf of at least five nominated individual members. Corporate members enjoy all the benefits of individual membership for the nominated individuals including substantial discounts for NELA and partner events, participation in law reform initiatives, and free subscription to the NELA Update. Corporate members are only entitled to one vote in NELA meetings through their authorised representative.
NELA's corporate members in 2021 are:
- Allens Linklater
- Australian Conservation Foundation
- Clayton Utz
- Department of Water and Environmental Regulation WA
- Environmental Defenders Office
- Lindsay Taylor Lawyers
- Commonwealth Parliamentary Library
Corporate members also have the opportunity to sponsor NELA events and conferences in accordance with NELA's Sponsorship Prospectus.
Affiliated organisations / Associate membership
NELA partners with like-minded organisations on a reciprocal and complimentary membership basis so that we can promote each other's activities to our respective memberships.
That is, if a like-minded organisation with similar goals to NELA agrees to admit NELA as an affiliate or associate member of their organisation, NELA will consider admitting that organisation as a member of NELA.
This category of NELA membership carries no membership fee and provides access to member benefits other than the right to vote and to stand for election as a NELA Director.
NELA's current affiliate members are:
- the Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia (BCSDA)
- the Asian Research Institute for Environmental Law (ARIEL)
NELA has conferred life membership on former NELA office holders who made an outstanding contribution to NELA's development and environmental law in Australia and internationally. NELA's current life members are:
NELA awarded John Haydon life membership in 2010 for his service in numerous capacities, including as a company director (1988–93), national president (1992–93) and convenor of the Environmental Law Roundtable (2006–12). John contributed to NELA’s journal Australian Environmental Law News (1992–93) and the National Environmental Law Review in 2005. He also presented at NELA conferences and wrote several consultancy and strategic planning papers for NELA.
NELA awarded Christine Trenorden life membership of NELA in 2010 for her contribution to the establishment of NELA, her service in several company director roles and as the editor of the Australian Environmental Law News for several years. Christine served as a judge and the Senior Judge of the Environment, Resources and Development Court in South Australia for a total of 17 years to 2010. Christine also worked in environmental law in the Asia-Pacific region prior to joining University College London School of Energy and Resources, Australia, in February 2013.
Simon Molesworth AO QC
NELA awarded the Hon Simon Molesworth AO QC life membership in 2020 in addition to awarding him in 1989 the then Australian Environmental Law Award. Simon was NELA’s inaugural President and contributed to the establishment of various other national environmental organisations. Simon has served on many environmental law adjudicative bodies and as an environmental law academic. Governments have appointed him to numerous boards, advisory committees and commissions. He was honoured as a Member of the Order of Australia in 1994, with the Centenary Medal in 2001, and in 2012 he was elevated to Officer of the Order of Australia.
Distinguished Professor Ben Boer
NELA awarded Ben Boer life membership in 2021. Ben is currently Distinguished Professor, Research Institute of Environmental Law, Wuhan University, and Emeritus Professor in Environmental Law, Faculty of Law, University of Sydney. Ben has made an outstanding contribution to global, regional and Australian environmental and heritage law over many decades, including in recent years in the field of human rights and the environment. Ben contributed to the establishment of NELA, and has presented at numerous NELA events over four decades. His presentations are always topical, thorough and pre-eminent in his area of focus. He co-founded the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law Specialist Group on Soil and Desertification in 1991 and co-chaired the Joint Specialist Group in Protected Areas Law, under the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law 200–11. He was Deputy Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law 2012–16. In the academic sphere, Ben has held numerous professorial appointments and has won numerous awards. Ben's CV is accessible here.
NELA awarded Jess Feehely life membership in 2021. Jess served on the NELA Board 2013–19 whilst working as Principal Lawyer at EDO Tasmania. She was NELA Secretary 2015–17 and President 2017–19. Throughout that time, Jess worked to strengthen NELA's governance, drafted or coordinated numerous law reform submissions, helped to organise numerous conferences, attracted new membership, and confirmed NELA as a credible expert voice on environmental and planning law. Jess strengthened NELA as a professional network for both experienced and newer practitioners.
Jess was the Tasmanian editor for the National Environmental Law Review from 2013. Following the decision to replace the quarterly NELR with a monthly NELA Bulletin and online Digest, Jess coordinated volunteer contributions, commissioned articles, established publication partnerships with several law firms, edited both the Bulletin and the Digest, and managed NELA's social media account. These resources provided members with valuable updates on law and policy reforms and NELA's activities.
Jess was active in organising NELA's national conferences in Melbourne (2016), Brisbane (2017) and Canberra (2019) and a number of Tasmanian events. She also worked with the Australian Committee of the IUCN and the Australian Panel of Experts on Australian Environmental Law to co-host the excellent national Better laws for a Better planet Symposium in Canberra in 2018. These events attracted diverse audiences and generated excellent debate on both long-standing and emerging environmental law issues.
Jess coordinated NELA's policy working groups and drew on members' collective expertise to develop numerous law reform submissions and promote NELA's reform proposals. She also managed the NELA Essay Competition for several years, mentored young practitioners, and encouraged law students to consider environmental law and policy roles.
NELA has five categories of membership: individual, corporate, life member, affiliate organisation, and student.
Individual membership is open to anyone interested in environmental law and who agrees to the purposes of the company.
Corporate membership is open to any organisation that agrees to the purposes of the association, joining on behalf of five or more nominated individual members.Different membership rates apply for not-for-profit entities.
Student membership is an individual membership that is offered at a discount for full time students who provide a copy of their student card with their application form or renewal.
NELA offers Life membership to people who have made an outstanding contribution to the organisation and the practice of environmental law.
Please email NELAboardmembers@gmail.com for more information.