Establishing a climate justice clinic in collaboration with a university.  

Since 2014, Ashurst has partnered with the University of Melbourne’s Sustainability Business Clinic. The Sustainability Business Clinic supports law students, under the guidance and supervision of Ashurst lawyers, to provide free legal advice to social enterprises and not-for-profit organizations that are working in sustainability fields such as renewable energy, urban planning, farming, food production, and conservation.

Law students from the University of Melbourne participate in the Sustainability Business Clinic as part of a subject, including interviewing clients, attending a site visit, identifying legal issues, and drafting advice. Ashurst lawyers assist the students in scoping the legal questions, provide feedback on the students’ draft advice and settle the final product.

Some notable examples of clients of the clinic include:

  • The owner and operator of a community-owned wind farm. The Sustainability Business Clinic provided legal advice on two separate occasions to this client. In 2016, the Clinic provided advice relating to suitable co-operative structure arrangements. In 2019, further advice was provided relating to the use of land as a community asset and proprietary interests in the underlying land.
  • A regional community organization promoting food security and social inclusion through a community garden and green space. The Sustainability Business Clinic provided property and planning advice to enable the establishment of a community green space, which commenced operation in 2018.

The subject is taught by academic and former commercial lawyer Brad Jessup, and runs approximately once a year, starting mid-year.