EDO-NQ has limited resources and seeks to maximise the use of these resources for the benefit of the environmental protection and conservation. EDO-NQ provides services in connection with public interest environmental issues arising in its service area: the geographic area of Northern Queensland from Mackay, out west to Mt Isa and north to include Cape York and the Torres Straits.
EDO-NQ's key objectives are:
A set of Casework Guidelines have been prepared to enable EDONQ to respond to requests for casework assistance in a consistent manner and in accordance with EDONQ's primary charter of contributing to the conservation and protection of the environment, including the cultural and built environment.
The Casework Guidelines are administered by a Casework Committee appointed by EDONQ's management committee.
All requests for significant legal assistance are considered by the Casework Committee who determine the amount of work to be undertaken (e.g. a written advice detailing the litigation options for a particular fact scenario). If a client requests further work (e.g. the drafting of grounds for a Planning and Environment Court appeal), the Casework Committee will then consider that additional request and decide whether the further work complies with the Casework Guidelines and should be undertaken. Applicants for significant legal assistance will be notified of the outcome by EDO-NQ's staff.
There are four matters that the Casework Committee will consider in determining whether to grant a Request for Legal Assistance, these are:
Details of these four matters are provided below -
1. Characteristics of the case
The Casework Committee will particularly consider the environmental significance and public interest aspects of the Request for Legal Assistance.
Of primary consideration is the significance of the case to the environment, with public interest being the second most important factor that will be considered. In this regard, “environment” includes the built and cultural environments, as well as the natural environment.
In assessing environmental significance, the Casework Committee will have regard to the following:
EDO-NQ will only act in relation to environmental law matters which involve strong elements of public interest. EDO-NQ will not act in matters involving purely private interests such as a claim for compensation relating to chemical exposure or a rezoning objection based on an individual's loss of view.
Public interest may exist in matters ostensibly of a private nature where there is a direct connection with the protection and conservation of the environment (e.g. the clearing of vegetation on private property for infrastructure, such as the provision of electricity lines etc.)
The Casework Committee will have regard to the level of public concern as an indicator of public interest. For example, an issue which leads to the establishment of a residents’ action group or other special purpose association may indicate a widespread level of concern and strong public interest.
2. Resource Issues
It is not only important that EDO-NQ uses its limited resources efficiently and effectively, but it is also important that if EDO-NQ takes on a matter then EDO-NQ has the time and other resources to be able to handle that matter both competently and professionally. When considering this guideline the Casework Committee will consider issues such as the following:
3. Prospects of Success
Where litigation is involved, the Casework Committee will consider the following questions:
4. Regional Benefit
Matters which the Casework Committee will consider in relation to this issue include the following:
Charging rates for litigation services
A set fee of $113 per hour applies to all litigation related activities undertaken by the EDO-NQ Solicitor. The Committee may, within their discretion, amend the set fee to provide a % discount depending on the client's ability to pay as well as other factors, for example, the regional significance of the case.
Note: These Casework Guidelines have been approved by the Management Committee of EDO-NQ and will be reviewed from time to time as the need arises.