Expert Register

The Expert Register is a list of people with scientific and technical expertise who are willing to assist EDO NSW on public interest environmental matters on a pro bono basis (for no fee as a public service) or in limited cases, for a reduced fee

The Expert Register is a vital part of our Scientific Advisory Service. A key aim of the Service is to increase the public's capacity to participate effectively in the environmental planning and development assessment process.

Our in-house environmental scientists often rely on advice from the Expert Register in advising clients, in analysing government policy, in making decisions on whether to take a matter to Court, and in our community education work.

The Expert Register includes academics, government scientists, consultants, and PhD students in a range of scientific and technical fields, including planning, ecology, hydrology, water, air, noise and soil pollution, engineering, public heath, and economics.

The Expert Register is open to experts in all States and Territories, although most referrals to the register will involve matters in NSW. If you are an expert from outside NSW, you should also contact your local EDO office to see if you can get involved in local public interest matters.

Joining the Expert Register

EDO NSW is always interested in hearing from scientific and technical experts interested in joining the Expert Register. We are also seeking to develop relationships with research organizations and environmental consultancies interested in doing pro-bono work.

If you would like to join the Expert Register, please download and complete the application form and email to edonsw@edonsw.org.au or fax to (61 2) 9264 2414.

Please attach a copy of your CV to the application form.

Your role and obligations

The role of the Expert Register is to provide EDO NSW and our clients with objective scientific and technical advice. We inform our clients of this role. If we think that on the basis of your advice our client no longer has a valid case, we will notify our client of this, and may stop acting for them.

You are under no obligation to assist us in a matter. We will contact you if we think you can assist us. Once you know the details of the matter, you are free to decline to assist. We understand that you are busy or may have conflicts of interest in a matter.

You are free to stand down from the Expert Register at any time.

The amount of work involved

You will generally only be asked to assist on a matter once or twice a year or less and each request would typically require a few hours or less of your time. A key aim of the Expert Register is the fair and equitable distribution of public interest matters among scientific and technical experts.

The type of work involved

You may be asked to provide oral advice, written advice, or provide a written review of a document or part of a document. You may also be asked to provide expert evidence in Court, if you choose.

You will not be asked to assist with trivial matters or matters outside your area of expertise. All matters are screened by the in-house environmental scientists to ensure that you assist only on public interest matters of genuine merit.

The type of work you may be asked to assist with includes:

  • Pre-decision work - advice on proposed developments or actions prior to an approval decision being made. This mainly involves advice on the impacts of developments and the adequacy of environmental impact assessments and assisting clients prepare submissions to decision-makers.
  • Compliance and monitoring work - advice on approved developments or actions. This mainly involves advice on the compliance of developments and actions with conditions of approval or regulatory requirements and assistance to clients in making submissions to regulatory authorities.
  • Policy and law reform work - contributions to our policy and law reform work by undertaking research and providing advice on the scientific aspects of government policy proposals and our priority law reform areas.
  • Community legal education work - contributions to our community legal education work by presenting at seminars and workshops, contributing to plain-English guides, and preparing fact sheets on scientific issues.
  • Expert evidence in Court, if you choose.

You do not have to appear in Court as an expert witness if you do not wish to. When joining the Expert Register, you can indicate your willingness to appear in Court. Most matters referred to an expert will not end up in Court.

How your work will be used

Your advice will normally be used as part of a letter of advice to a client, as part of a submission made directly to a decision-maker or regulatory authority, or to assist us to consider whether to take a matter to Court. The circumstances in which your work is proposed to be used will always be discussed with you. You may provide your advice anonymously if you wish.

Fees for your work

Most of our clients do not have enough money to pay for expert advice. We ask members of the register to assist on a pro bono, no fee basis. Limited funding may occasionally be available, but should not be expected. For expert witness work, we normally have funding available to pay experts on a reduced fee basis.

Benefits of joining

The benefits of joining the Expert Register include:

For individuals:

  • Opportunities to keep abreast of developments in environmental law and policy through:
  • Free admission to EDO NSW seminars and environmental law workshops.
  • Subscription to EDO NSW's weekly e-Bulletin.
  • Opportunities to apply your knowledge and skills in the public interest and to help people with limited access to scientific expertise.
  • Opportunities to engage in environmental policy and law reform work and community education work.
  • Opportunities to be involved in international work through our international program.
  • Opportunities to network with other scientific and technical experts and members of the legal profession.

For companies:

  • Positive public exposure for your company, if you want it.
  • The opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to good corporate citizenship and high standards in environmental planning and assessment.
  • The ability to provide public interest opportunities to staff not normally available in most organizations, which may help to attract and retain staff.

For more information on the Expert Register, please contact Megan Kessler, Scientific Director, on (61 2) 9262 6989 or at edonsw@edonsw.org.au.

Other frequently asked questions

Who is EDO NSW?

We are a non-profit, non-government community legal centre which provides legal advice and representation to individuals and community groups working to protect the environment.

Who does EDO NSW represent?

We represent individuals, community groups, and organisations. The following criteria are used when deciding whether to represent someone:

  • The matter involves a public interest environmental issue, and
  • The matter involves a real threat to the environment, and
  • EDO NSW has the resources to properly advise on the matter; and
  • If the matter involves a significant private interest, the financial means of the applicant are considered.

Is the Expert Register publicly available?

The names of people on the Expert Register are not made publicly available. We will only disclose your name or organisation's name to our client with your prior agreement. You are always able to provide your advice anonymously if you wish.

Will your work be taken out of context or your name used in campaigns?

The in-house environmental scientists will ensure that your advice is not used inappropriately. EDO NSW will never change the substance of your advice. We are not a conservation group and do not run campaigns. The circumstances in which your work is proposed to be used will always be discussed with you.

Who can join the Expert Register?

We aim to tailor the Expert Register to the specific needs of EDO NSW and our clients, and as such, it is not open to all who apply. As a guide, we seek people with 10 years practical experience or more or with knowledge in a specialist area that is relevant to the work that we do.

  • The decision on whether to admit a person to the Expert Register is made by the Scientific Director, who may also consult with the Chief Executive Officer and/or the Technical Advisory Panel. In making the decision, the following will be considered:
  • The relevance of your expertise to the work that EDO NSW does and EDO NSW's priority areas.
  • Whether your area of expertise intersects with environmental issues that are likely to involve a real threat to the environment.
  • The number of years of experience you have and where and how you gained your experience.
  • The extent to which your area of expertise is already covered by other members of the Expert Register.
  • Your standing in the scientific community.

We reserve the right to ask you to stand down from the Expert Register. 

Apply to be on the Expert Register.