John, based in the Northern Rivers, is a Consultant in Herbert Smith Freehills’ Sydney office where he was a partner for 20 years. He established the firm’s National Environmental Group in 1989 and led it for many years. John is recognised as a leading environmental law practitioner with extensive experience in all the legal aspects of land-use planning, pollution control and contaminated land, and in the field of climate-change law.
Following his studies at Sydney University, obtaining his Bachelor of Arts (Hons), Master of Arts (Hons) and Bachelor of Laws, he went on to complete a Masters of Comparative Law (Environmental Law) at George Washington University, Washington DC, USA. This was among the first environmental law masters degrees obtained by any Australian practitioner.
His extensive experience includes many years with large corporate transactions and large-scale urban infrastructure projects acting for both governmental and non-governmental clients. It also includes land use planning and environmental aspects, and greenhouse aspects, of large-scale power-plant and mining projects, and with land-decontamination projects acting for non-governmental clients.
John also has extensive experience in relation to strategic climate change issues including ‘carbon costs pass-through’, carbon capture and storage, joint venture structuring, registration and reporting obligations, and ‘carbon credit’ acquisitions.
His professional contributions include having been Secretary of the National Environmental Law Association of Australia; a member of the Executive Committee of the International Bar Association’s Committee on Environmental Law; a member of the Advisory Board of the Commonwealth Environment Protection Authority; and a member of the International Environmental Lawyers Network based in Washington DC.
John is a Life Patron of the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO). He is also a Director of the ACO Pty Ltd, the ACO Instrument Fund Pty Ltd, ACO(UK) Ltd and ACO(US) Inc. Until recently, he was a Director of Landcare CarbonSmart Limited, a Director of Flora and Fauna International (Australia) Pty Ltd and a director of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust Foundation.