Legal support

Looking for legal support for environmental damage or injustice?

We take on a small number of public interest legal matters where we can have the biggest impact.

What kind of legal support does EJA offer?

We provide vital legal support to the community where we can have the biggest impact.

For more than 30 years, we've delivered environmental justice for nature and people, initially as government-funded Community Legal Center, and now as an independent, community-powered national organisation.

We focus on legal matters that are in the public interest, where we can make a system-level impact with long-term and far-reaching outcomes (rather than just one-off smaller-scale wins).

For example, we:

  • Run public interest court cases to set game-changing precedents for the most pressing environmental issues
  • Run targeted, strategic legal interventions to drive ambition on climate action and environmental protection
  • Prioritise legal work that influences the broader debate around environmental justice, decision making and the social license of companies.
  • Target the companies that make the largest direct contribution to the problem
  • Challenge legal and regulatory frameworks that make widespread destruction possible.

This means we do not provide ad hoc legal support across a multitude of issues – there are so many issues, we'd never have time for the big things! 

What types of clients do we represent?

We prioritise acting for individuals and communities bearing the brunt of environmental injustice, often at the intersection of overlapping harms. This includes:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • People and communities experiencing discrimination, financial disadvantage, exclusion and ongoing injustice
  • People with a disability
  • People who live in regional or remote areas of Australia
  • Young people

We provide legal support for environmental damage or injustice for individuals, community groups and non-profit organisations on matters of significant public interest.

We do not act for:

  • Local councils, government departments and statutory authorities.
  • For-profit businesses, unless there is a sufficient public interest objective.
  • Permit applicants, respondents to enforcement orders, or defendants to prosecutions for environmental offences or alleged contraventions of environmental laws.
  • Other legal professionals in their capacity as legal professionals (unless they are a Community Legal Centre, another public interest legal organisation, or a lawyer representing a client in a matter within our priority impact areas).
  • People in localised matters such as neighbour disputes or individual tree removal.
  • Clients seeking individual compensation.

Request legal support

We receive a high volume of requests for support and have limited resources.

Please consider whether your request meets the above criteria before getting in touch.

Other options for legal support

We're a small team and prioritise a small number of public interest legal matters where we can have the biggest impact. If we are unable to support you with a matter, you may be able to seek help using the following resources. This does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice, but treated only as a source of additional information.

The Law Institute of Victoria (LIV)
LIV provides a free referral service, which entitles you to a free 30min consultation with a legal practitioner.

Community Legal Centres (CLCs)
CLCs are independent community organisations that can provide free legal services. Your local CLC may be able to assist with legal matters such as climate justice matters and responses to disasters. You can search for a CLC here.

Environmental Defenders Office (EDO)
EDO is a non-government, not-for-profit environmental legal centre operating in Australia and the Pacific. Outside of Victoria, the EDO may be able to assist with environmental law matters.

Everyday Justice
Everyday Justice is a not-for-profit law firm owned by Mills Oakley. Everyday Justice may be able to assist with matters including climate change, public interest and human rights matters.

Fitzroy Legal Service
Fitzroy Legal Service is a community legal centre providing advice and representation in a range of matters. They are an appointment-only firm (contact details here). They also have a range of useful online resources including an introduction to environment and planning law.

Justice Connect
Justice Connect provides assistance in a number of areas of law, including natural disaster relief, to individuals and organisations who meet their criteria. They also provide assistance for self represented litigants.

Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service
The Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service provides advice and referrals to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. If they cannot assist directly, they may be able to provide people with information and/or referrals to other services.

If your matter relates to activism or protesting, the following resources may be relevant.


EJA Legal Guide for Forest Protectors in Victoria

Melbourne Activist Legal Support Legal-Rights Training

Activist Rights – Knowledge Base

Legal Assistance

Bleyer Lawyers
03 9600 4224
[email protected]

Stary Norton Halphen
03 8622 8200

Other supportive firms are listed here.

General information

Court Network provides free and confidential information on the court process in Victoria but does not provide legal advice.

Justice Connect provides assistance for self-represented litigants across some matters in NSW, ACT, Victoria and Tasmania.

Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal (VCAT)

Generally, you do not need to be represented by a lawyer at VCAT, however there are some instances where you can be. For information on participating in VCAT proceedings, see the ‘Prepare to come to VCAT’ page.

See also the VCAT Planning and Environment Resource hub.

Supreme Court of Victoria

See the ‘Representing Yourself in Court’ help page.

The Victorian Ombudsman

The Victorian Ombudsman receives complaints about Victorian public organisations, including local councils and government departments. The Ombudsman considers complaints and may decide to investigate in certain circumstances.

Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests

Any individual or organisation can seek access to certain government documents by making a request under the:

General guidance for making these requests can be found here.
If you are not satisfied with the response to a Freedom of Information Request from a public organisation, you can contact:

This section contains links to additional online resources published by government and non-government organisations. These may be useful in clarifying rights or obligations under Australian environmental laws.

Activist Rights – An online knowledge base created by the Fitzroy Legal Service. It provides a range of information including about protester rights, police powers, court conduct and common charges activists might face.

Engage Victoria – Manages public consultation relating to Environmental Effects Statements and similar schemes for the Victorian Government.

Environment Protection Authority Victoria’s Environmental Information – Provides information about air and water quality, noise and odour pollution, land and groundwater pollution, climate change and public health, and waste management.

EPBC Act Public Portal – Provides resources relevant to Commonwealth environmental assessments and compliance, and access to EPBC referrals and public comment mechanisms.

Guide to Victoria’s Planning System – Provided by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

Reporting alleged non-compliant timber harvesting to the Victorian Government – Guidelines and forms for reporting detections of threatened species in timber harvesting safety areas or potential compliance issues.

Reporting litter and pollution (including nuisance odours and smoke) – Guidelines to make a report to the Environment Protection Authority Victoria.

The General Environmental Duty (GED) – An overview of the GED published by the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office, including deemed contraventions of the GED and penalties.

Tree Disputes – Information on a tree owner’s rights and obligations to manage trees on their land and dispute resolution mechanisms for nuisance caused by trees.

Wildlife Crimes – The Crime Stoppers Victoria page for reviewing or reporting wildlife crimes.