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Presentations, papers and recordings are available exclusively to members in our Reading Room.

Thursday 25 June

Session One - Harbour

4.15pm Welcome from Conference Chair, Sarah Holmes, Legal Director, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

4.30pm Plenary 1 - Marine Environment

The marine environment represents a contested and challenging space offering great opportunities, while facing unprecedented threats from pollution and unsustainable resource extraction. Marine environmental problems are often complex, large scale and transboundary, representing truly global concerns.  The solutions, however, often require local management and remedies.  This plenary spans globally pioneering work on marine plastic pollution and the role of the law in controlling the exploitation of fisheries. 

Jason Lowther, Associate Head of School (Law), University of Plymouth - Chair     


  • Professor Richard Thompson OBE, Director of the Marine Institute, University of Plymouth: Wicked Problems & Global Challenges - the case of Plastics
  • Dr Eunice Pinn, Seafish, co-convenor Nature Conservation Working Party: Interactions - Fisheries Management & Environmental Commitments

5.20pm Speakers corner 1 – Ginny Butcher LPC & Masters student, University of Exeter: Live Wrasse Fishing in Southern England - The Legal Problems surrounding a Biological Solution: An exploration of the live wrasse fishing industry, including the scale, the impacts, and the legal and regulatory measures which govern it. Suggestions for future change will be proposed.

5.30pm AGM

5.45pm Close of formal business

7pm- After Dinner Speaker 'Done the Science, now need the Lawyers!'

Our Speaker is the renowned explorer and broadcaster Paul Rose. We are delighted to welcome him to our Annual Conference line up. Paul says: 'Environmental science and conservation work has never been more respected, but real progress will come with enforceable international environmental laws.'

Friday 26 June

Session Two - Set Sail

9am Welcome from Sarah Holmes 

9.10am   Plenary 2 – Rule of Law and the Environment

At its core, environmental law is about relationships: between people and between people and the environment. Building effective legal frameworks and upholding the rule of law are fundamental to addressing the challenges of climate change, competition for scarce resources and growing environmental impacts.  This plenary will underpin the Conference, prompting evaluation of the status of the rule of law domestically and internationally, the potential for an international law of ecocide and the role of the law in environmental justice.  

Chair –Will Upton QC


  • Tom Burke, UKELA Patron and Chair, E3g
  • Jojo Mehta, Stop Ecocide Foundation
  • Estelle Dehon, Cornerstone Barristers

10.20am Keynote Speaker - Lord Carnwath of Notting Hill, UKELA President on Climate Change & the Law: Some Personal Reflections

10.45am Break

Session Three - Meeting the Challenge of the Journey

11am Plenary 3: Think Big, Improvise and Innovate

Mayflower400 promotes imagination to encourage people to "think big, improvise and innovate".  These skills are core to the ability of societies, business, governments, international organisations and individuals to confront and adapt to the impacts of human induced climatic, societal and environmental challenges.  Covid-19 has wreaked social and economic havoc globally.  Few believe that returning to "business as usual" is possible.  Yet can Covid-19 disruption provide opportunity for Governments to be ambitious and collaborative enough to drive the big thinking, improvisation and innovation that a healthy planet needs?  This plenary will evaluate the role environmental law can play in rising to the challenges faced, encouraging vital innovation and facilitating the necessary relationships between science, technology, economics and people.    

Chair - Ned Westaway, Francis Taylor Building


  • Richard Benwell, CEO, Wildlife & Countryside Link
  • Charles Banner QC, Landmark Chambers
  • Carol Day, Consultant Solicitor, Leigh Day

11.50am Speakers Corner 2 – Helen Mitcheson, solicitor at Trowers & Hamlins: Science, Law and Marine Mammals - understanding legal frameworks: A review of the complexities inherent in both environmental law and marine mammal science, including a brief overview of the legal framework to protect marine mammals in the UK and discussion of the importance of multi-disciplinary working between scientists and lawyers. 

12pm Lunch break and Working Party sessions

Session Four - A New World

1.15pm Welcome back from Sarah Holmes 

1.20pm   Plenary 4: State of the Unions in the UK, EU and USA

Round the World in 80 Minutes - In this plenary you will hear about the latest environmental law and policy developments at home and abroad, as our panellists offer their own insights into the big environmental developments in the UK, the EU and the USA; and share their views as to how these might shape environmental law and policy across the globe. From the UK's proposed Office for Environmental Protection and the landmark Environment Bill; to the EU's much heralded Green Deal; and finally to President Trump's unique approach to climate change – this plenary will equip you with a global view.

Chair – Ben Stansfield, Partner Gowling WLG & UKELA Trustee


  • Karen Mignone, American Bar Association, Chair of Section of Energy, Environment & Resources: State of the Union - USA
  • Professor Kars de Graaf, Professor of Public Law & Sustainability, University of Groningen: State of the Union - EU & the Netherlands
  • Stephen Tromans QC, 39 Essex Chambers: State of the Union - the UK

2.30pm   Plenary 5: Environmental Regulation and Net Zero

Hear from the EA, SEPA and Natural England on how plans for tackling the challenges of managing our collective commitments for net zero emissions are affecting both internal policy and regulatory drivers across the UK. Our expert panel will discuss the challenges and practical implications for business.

Chair - Warren Percival, RSK & UKELA Trustee


  • Peter Kellett, Director of Legal Services, Environment Agency: Corona Virus, Regulation & Net Zero
  • Alison York, SEPA & UKELA trustee: The Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Net Zero
  • Richard Broadbent, Natural England: Making nature’s recovery central to addressing and adapting to climate change as part of the post Covid-19 Green recovery

3.40pm Break

Session Five - Respecting the New World around us

4pm   Plenary 6: Climate Resilience: Looking Forward

Our concluding plenary looks to the future, evaluating the practical steps that can be taken to enhance sustainability and improve decision-making, sustainability leadership and responses by all actors. We will then hear from a "Rock Star" about the application of Earth science to pressing societal concerns about climate change, geo-resources, geo-energy and disaster risk reduction and how complex and contested Earth science can be best conveyed to non-technical audiences. 

Chair – David Hart QC, 1 Crown Office Row


  • James MacGregor, Environmental Economist & Senior Management Consultant, Ramboll
  • Professor Iain Stewart, Director of the Sustainable Earth Institute, University of Plymouth and UNESCO Chair in Geo-Science & Society

4.50pm Farewell and final thanks - UKELA Chair, Kirsty Schneeberger MBE

5pm Close




UKELA reserves the right to amend the programme and speakers at any time 

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