Everyone who attended the Jifa training course on environmental law earlier this year will remember Judge Brian Preston. Chief judge of the New South Wales land and environment court, he had remarkable insights into the subject of environmental law and the role of the courts in making environmental rights real. But now the NSW government is taking on a major decision he gave earlier this year in which he cited climate change, among other issues, for turning down a planned coal mine.
Though Judge Brian Preston is the author of many other judgments, the best known is a decision he gave in February 2019. It involved a mining company that wanted to extract 21m tons of coal over 16 years in a picturesque country valley. But the minister for planning refused development consent. And that is how the case found itself before Judge Preston, via an appeal by the mining company