Friday (26th June)


We are pleased to offer the following activities for anyone arriving on Thursday evening or early Friday morning.  Details to follow.

Yoga (The House) (time tbc) 

9.30-11am: Welcome to UKELA: Students, new professionals and newcomers to conference - join us at The Sustainability Hub

Organised activity on campus such as a visit to the wave tank or the immersive theatre


12 noon   Buffet lunch and Registration


12.45pm   Welcome from Conference Chair, Sarah Holmes, Legal Director, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP


12.50pm   Plenary 1 – 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.  The opening plenary will lay the foundations for 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 - William Upton QC, Barrister, Six Pump Court 


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

Followed by questions


2.10pm   Keynote Speaker - Lord Carnwath of Notting Hill, UKELA President - Climate Change & the Law  


2.40pm   Plenary 2: 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, the role of the law in controlling the exploitation of fisheries and an adaptive and collaborative approach to the management of the Plymouth Sound European Marine Site. 

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


  • Professor Richard Thompson OBE, Director of the Marine Institute, University of Plymouth
  • Dr Eunice Pinn, Marine Environment Regulation Advisor, Seafish & Co-Convenor of UKELA's Nature Conservation Working Party
  • Kaja Curry, Chair Tamar Estuaries Consultative Forum & Natural Infrastructure Officer, Plymouth City Council 


4.10pm   Speakers corner - Ginny Butcher, LPC & Masters student, University of Exeter


4.20pm   Afternoon Tea/Coffee Break


4.50pm   Plenary 3: Think Big, Improvise and Innovate

In the spirit of the Pilgrims, Mayflower 400 promotes imagination to encourage people to "think big, improvise and innovate".  These values are core to the ability of societies, business, governments, international organisations and individuals to confront and adapt to the impacts of human induced climatic and societal environmental challenges.  This plenary will include consideration of the role of environmental law in encouraging improvisation and innovation in science, technology and commerce and take a look at some close-to-home innovations.  

Chair - Ned Westaway, Barrister at Francis Taylor Building & UKELA Vice Chair 

Charles Banner QC, Landmark Chambers

Speaker 2 invited


5:50pm   Speakers Corner 2


6pm   AGM

6:15pm   Close


7.30pm   Friday Evening drinks and dinner – The Box

11pm   Follow on venue – Roundabout pub


Saturday (27th June) 

7am   Yoga

8am   Breakfast on campus (Roland Levinsky building)


8.45am   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, all in good time for COP26 in November.

Chair – Ben Stansfield, Partner Gowling WLG & UKELA Trustee


  • Karen Mignone, American Bar Association, Chair of Section of Energy, Environment & Resources
  • Stephen Tromans QC, 39 Essex Chambers
  • Speaker on EU issues invited


10.15am   Plenary 5: Environmental Regulation and Net Zero 

Chair - Warren Percival, RSK & UKELA Trustee

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.


  • Peter Kellett, Director of Legal Services, Environment Agency
  • Alison York, SEPA & UKELA trustee
  • Richard Broadbent, Principal Solicitor, Natural England   


11.45am   Tea/Coffee Break


12.05pm   Speakers Corner 3


12.15pm   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


1:15pm   Closing remarks

1.25pm   Farewell and final thanks - UKELA Chair, Kirsty Schneeberger MBE


1.30pm   Lunch - Packed Lunch & Working Party Sessions


3pm   Saturday afternoon excursions - find out more


7pm   Drinks Reception & Gala Dinner at the National Marine Aquarium, home of global Ocean conservation charity the Ocean Conservation Trust.  

We are delighted to announce that our Guest Speaker will be explorer, diver and documentary presenter Paul Rose, former Vice President of the Royal Geographical Society and Chair of the Expeditions and Fieldwork Division.  Paul is currently Expedition Leader for the National Geographic Pristine Seas Expeditions, helping scientists unlock and communicate global mysteries in the most remote and challenging regions of the planet.  Representatives of the Ocean Conservation Trust will be on hand to communicate the charity's progressive approach to encouraging people to "Think Ocean" and be a part of the solution. 


Sunday (28th June) - Breakfast (Roland Levinsky building) and departure (time tbc)

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

Speaker's Corner

We are delighted to offer once again the opportunity to speak at our Annual Conference in the ‘Speaker’s Corner’ slots. Is there an environmental issue that keeps you up at night? Have you got a passion or experience about the natural world you would like to share? Does the opportunity to raise your professional profile at the UK’s leading environmental law conference appeal to you? Then apply for one of our “Speaker’s Corner” slots for an exciting 7-minute platform to speak in front of the conference delegates on any environmental topic you wish. We welcome the chance for us to hear new voices and fresh opinions on environmental issues and strongly encourage those who have not spoken at previous conferences before to apply. You must already be registered as attending the 2020 conference (or will be registered by the time judging takes place). For more information on how to apply, please download the application form and send it to Louise Hotchkiss by 12 noon on Tuesday 12th May. We look forward to receiving your application!


For general information on environmental issues, visit our sister site Law and Your environment