The Environmental Defenders Office runs bold and groundbreaking environmental cases to protect wildlife and the natural world. We give everyday people access to the justice system and empower communities to find legal remedies for their environmental problems.

EDO runs landmark, innovative litigation. We bring important cases to help clients defend their communities from destructive development and stand up against powerful interests in court.

Our lawyers have been at the forefront of some of Australia’s biggest environmental legal battles, from the Adani mine and drilling in the Great Australian Bight, to protecting whales in the Antarctic.

See our groundbreaking cases

Read about some of our most important victories

Law Reform

EDO lawyers and scientists are expert advocates for strong environmental laws to protect our communities and wildlife.  We are the respected and informed voice on the law as it relates to the environment in Australia and the Pacific. We advise governments and communities, and influence the development of critical legislation.

EDO regularly makes submissions on policy and legislation. Click here to see some of our past submissions.


We aim to empower communities to participate effectively in decisions that affect them and the places they love.

Our legal information is delivered by lawyers who specialise in plain English communication and helps people have their say in public consultations, identify unlawful behaviour and challenge unwelcome or unhealthy developments.

Our outreach lawyers deliver community workshops and produce a range of written resources to demystify the law and help communities use the law to protect their environment.

Our special programs support our legal advice, court cases and policy development work. 

Aboriginal Engagement

EDO recognises that a key part of achieving environmental justice in Australia is the central place of First Nations and Indigenous Peoples across all facets of the organisation’s work.

EDO aims to support First Nations and Indigenous Peoples to protect their Country/Land, and centre understanding of – and respect for – their perspectives in our work.

Read more about our work in Aboriginal Engagement & cultural heritage.

International Program

Our International Program works to empower peoples across the Pacific region to use the law to protect the environment and communities. The program operates at the critical intersection of indigenous rights and environmental protection. We centre indigenous perspectives and rights as we build partnerships to protect human rights and the environment through the informed use of the law.

Our International Program Team uniquely includes some of the leading Pasifika lawyers practising in the region.

We work with organisations in a number of Pacific countries – including PNG, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu – to tackle issues such as climate change, threats to marine environments, forestry and mining.

Our key partners include, Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights Inc (PNG), the Landowners Advocacy and Legal Support Unit (Solomon Islands), the Solomon Islands Environmental Law Association, Fiji Environmental Law Association and the Vanuatu Environmental Law Association.

Our role and the role of our key partners is to share our diverse knowledge and experience, enabling two-way learnings as we deliver strategic and critical legal solutions for Pacific peoples.

EDO Ltd (formerly EDO NSW) has been a full member of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) since 2013.
ACFID maintains the ACFID Code of Conduct, a voluntary, self-regulatory sector code of good practice for organisations working in aid and development. EDO is committed to full adherence with the Code, conducting our work with transparency, accountability and integrity.
For further information about the Code, please refer to This site also includes information about how to make a complaint in relation to any breach of the Code.

Read about our historic Solomon Islands bauxite mine case

Citizen Representation

The right to peaceful protest and freedom of assembly is a fundamental principle of a liberal democracy, set out in several international human rights treaties.

EDO’s specialist citizen representation lawyers give people advice and information about the laws that regulate environmental protests.  Our lawyers can also provide representation to those who have been charged with criminal offences at protests. 

Scientific Advisory Service

In 2003, we established a scientific advisory service to provide objective scientific and technical advice to clients on public interest environmental law.

A key aim of the scientific advisory service is to increase the community’s capacity to participate effectively in the environmental planning and development assessment process.

The scientific advisory service comprises:

  1. In-house scientific advice, led by Scientific Director Dr. Megan Kessler.
  2. A Technical Advisory Panel of academic experts who provide strategic advice to EDO on scientific issues. 
  3. An Expert Register, of over 150 scientific and technical experts in a range of fields who assist EDO from time to time on a largely pro-bono (volunteer) basis. If you would like to join our Expert Register please complete our application form.

When to get scientific advice

Scientific and technical information plays a significant part in environmental law. For example, environmental planning relies on scientific information to determine where to best place development and where to best protect land, while environmental impact assessment relies on consultants and other technical specialists to predict and minimise the impacts of developments.

Examples of when scientific advice could help you include:

  • Investigating the impacts of a proposed development on the environment and preparing a submission to government on the adequacy of an environmental impact assessment.
  • Investigating compliance with conditions of approval for a development or with environmental legislation for an activity such as forestry operations or land clearing on private land.
  • Gathering information to support your views in relation to a development or to influence a change in environmental policy or law.
  • Considering Court proceedings for environmental cases.

Extensive scientific assistance will only be available from EDO for matters that meet our advice or casework guidelines.

It’s important to come to us as early as possible, as it may take some time to work through key issues. However, you should note the expertise you require may not be covered by the Expert Register and that members of the register provide their time free of charge and may not always be available. For legal advice, please contact your local office.