Currently my primary research interest is the law and policy of marine-based electricity generation technologies, primarily wave and tidal. The theoretical potential of marine energy is huge, but, like all emerging technologies, marine energy faces a number of unique barriers to commercialisation and implementation. In some jurisdictions, onerous and unclear regulatory frameworks for marine energy act as a significant barrier, others have attempted to use these frameworks to encourage development of marine energy technologies. My research intends to assess the impacts of these laws and policies and discern a best practice approach to the regulation and facilitation of marine energy projects.
I am very interested in electricity regulation, in particular: demand side participation/demand management; energy efficiency; distributed generation; integration of large-scale renewables; transmission and distribution policy; economic regulation of monopoly network businesses. I work for the Total Environment Centre campaigning for improved environmental outcomes in Australia’s National Electricity Market.
Earth Jurisprudence is an emerging legal theory that draws on a wide range of disciplines, including law, ecology, physics and anthropology, to recognise the Earth as the primary source of law and set human law in a context that is wider than humanity. Earth Jurisprudence is an ecologically holistic approach that knowledges that the good of the whole takes precedence over the good of the parts. Earth Jurisprudence advocates the reform of human governance systems to embody an ethical code of practice which requires us to live according to Nature’s laws for the well-being of the whole Earth Community and future generations of all species.
Those interested in learning more about Earth Jurisprudence can get an excellent and diverse overview from the following three books:
- Cormac Cullinan, Wild law: A Manifesto for Earth Justice (2nd edn Chelsea Green, Vermont 2011)
- Peter Burdon, Exploring Wild Law: The philosophy of earth jurisprudence (Wakefield Press, Adelaide 2011)
- Christopher Stone, Should Trees Have Standing?: Law, Morality, and the Environment (3rd edn Oxford University Press, Oxford 2010)
Animal Law is also an emerging area of academic study. In my view, the term Animal Law can be used to refer to three distinct concepts:
- The collection of laws and regulations that seek to promote animal welfare within a legal framework that generally allows their exploitation and treatment as property. This is perhaps better termed ‘animal welfare law’ and describes the current state of law in most jurisdictions.
- The emergence of a specific area of academic study. Since 1996, when the first course dedicated to the study of animals’ interests and the law was taught in New York, the field has grown exponentially. Since 1999, an average of 8 university courses have been added each year, and around 75 courses are now taught worldwide.
- A critical legal theory that deconstructs the relationship between animals and the law, critiquing the foundations of that law, questioning the status of animals as property, and proposing legal reforms that move toward better recognition and protection of the rights of animals. Animal Law in this sense seeks to question the underlying justification of the legal treatment of animals under the current welfare paradigm, similar to the way in which critical race theory questions the inherent racial biases in legal systems and feminist legal theory deconstructs the treatment of gender issues under the law.
I am interested particularly in the progression of Animal Law as a critical legal theory and the furtherance of rights-based legal reforms relating to animals.