The Australian Centre for Climate and Environmental Law (ACCEL) is located at Sydney Law School, University of Sydney. The Centre operates in terms of a Constitution which sets out the objectives and the governance structure of the Centre.


The objectives of the Centre, briefly, are to encourage, promote and support innovative and important scholarship including teaching, research, consultancy and public interest advocacy in all areas of environmental law and policy. These objectives are pursued within the University of Sydney, with other related Centres in Australia and overseas, with the legal profession, and with the wider community both in Australia and internationally.

Executive Committee

The business and affairs of the Centre are managed by the ACCEL (Sydney) Executive Committee which comprises the following members:

  • Professor Rosemary Lyster, Director
  • Associate Professor Ed Couzens, Deputy Director
  • Dr Andrew Edgar, Associate Dean (Postgraduate Research)
  • Ms Kate Owens, Master of Environmental Law Program Coordinator
  • Professor Tim Stephens

Adjunct Professors and Associates:

  • Adjunct Professor Gerry Bates
  • Emeritus Professor Ben Boer
  • Honorary Senior Lecturer Nicola Franklin
  • Adjunct and Emeritus Professor Zada Lipman
  • Adjunct Professor The Hon. Justice Brian Preston, Chief Judge, Land and Environment Court of NSW

Click here for Committee Member profile summaries


Membership of the Centre is open to all full-time and part-time members of the Law School's academic staff who are actively engaged in teaching and/or researching in environmental law, and related areas, and to persons regularly contracted by the Faculty to provide environmental law teaching or research.

Advisory Board

A key aspect of the Centre’s governance structure is the Advisory Board which comprises members appointed by the Dean on the advice of the Executive Committee. The Advisory Board shall consist of individuals with a strong interest in environmental law, including judges, practitioners, scholars, representatives of industry and members of the wider community who have made an important contribution to the field, both in Australia and overseas. The Chair of the Advisory Board is the Director of the Centre. The Advisory Board meets at least once every year in order to advise the Director, Executive Committee, and Law School on all aspects of the activities of the Centre.

The Advisory Board currently comprises the following members:

  • Dr Nicolas Brunton, Partner, Henry Davis York
  • Mr John Connor, CEO, The Climate Institute
  • Dr Ronnie Harding, Senior Visiting Fellow, Institute of Environmental Studies, University of New South Wales
  • Mr David O'Donnell, Partner, Addison Lawyers
  • The Honourable Justice Nicola Pain, NSW Land and Environment Court
  • Mr Jeff Smith, Director, Environmental Defender’s Office

Financial responsibility

Financial responsibility for the Centre’s activities is vested in the Dean. The Centre’s funds are held in an account maintained by Sydney Law School. The Dean exercises financial responsibility by approving budgets for the Centre, prepared by the Director in consultation with the Executive Committee, and by exercising broad oversight of budgetary performance. Day to day administration of finances is entrusted to the Director in consultation with the Executive Committee.