With insight and expertise from the JERL Editorial Board and the Section’s Academic Advisory Group, editor Don C Smith presents the Journal's top-ten energy and natural resources issues to watch in 2015.
Environmental courts and tribunals (ECTs) are public judicial or administrative bodies, chambers or officials that specialise in deciding disputes involving environmental, natural resources, land use, development or related issues. Given the rapid spread of ECTs (hundreds worldwide) and the number of ‘environment-related’ issues that can come under their jurisdiction, even attorneys, clients, public officials, and businesses in ‘non-environmental’ fields may find themselves in this new kind of dispute resolution institution. Looking ahead, it is likely that more ECTs will be created, their jurisdictions will be expanded and practice in them will increasingly differ from the general courts.
AMPLA Limited (ACN 006 037 529) (AMPLA)1 has developed and published over 50 model agreements for use in the minerals and oil and gas industries. These models are published on the AMPLA website at www.ampla.org. This article presents and explains the considerations behind the drafting of the various AMPLA Model Minerals Royalty Agreements, their Model Alternative and Optional Clauses (Model A & O Clauses), and how they are applied to specific royalties. The original model was developed for use in Australia. It has now been developed further as a non-jurisdiction specific model in English and as a French civil law model, each of which has been de-Australianised. The Model Royalty Agreements are intended to provide a comprehensive framework for use in all types of minerals royalty arrangements. Each model can be modified by the insertion of specific additional clauses set out at the end of the model to produce a document suitable for various types of royalties. There are also Model A & O Clauses, which can be inserted for specific royalties. The model provides a flexible, generic and modular starting point for drafting a minerals royalty agreement in any jurisdiction.
On 1 July 2010, Ireland gave an ambitious pledge to convert a significant share of electricity generation from conventional to onshore wind generation. This pledge was designed to support a legal obligation to reach a 16 per cent share in renewable energy consumption by 2020. More recently, buoyed by the apparent success of the initial policy, the Irish Government indicated its intention to explore the potential for a wind generated electricity export market. However, problems are evident that threaten these ambitions as Ireland’s wind policy and most of its commercial wind developments (namely those constructed before 2011) are open to legal challenge for having breached EU law. Although the case law that supports this proposition will be considered solely in relation to the threat it poses to Ireland’s wind policy and developments, the jurisprudence has broad-ranging implications for renewable energy across the EU, and for environmental lawyers and policy-makers in all 28 of the EU’s Member States.
This article reviews some of the fascinating events in energy law and policy that occurred during 2014. It does so through the eyes of the Academic Advisory Group to the International Bar Association’s Section on Energy, Environment, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Law. The Group prepared The Law of Energy Underground for Oxford University Press publication in early 2014. The book studied many developments in energy law and policy, including shale oil and gas development, geothermal resource development, and subsurface storage and disposal development. This article reviews some of those developments and then expands with others that have emerged since Energy Underground went to press. These new developments pertain to the geopolitics of energy, debates over climate change, judicial regulation of unconventional oil and gas development, and the future of nuclear energy and nuclear waste.