Meet our ELF bloggers

By Emma Montlake

Celebrating one year with our ELF blogger Emma Lui

Emma is a Policy Advisor at the Office for Nuclear Regulation.  Her previous experience includes three years at the LexisNexis practical guidance content service, LexisPSL, in the Construction, Environment and Energy teams, and a legal internship at ClientEarth.  She was called to the Bar in 2015 and obtained her LLM with Distinction, focusing on Environmental and Public Law, from UCL in 2014.  Emma is a member of the UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA), and is also an Advisory Board member of Public Interest Environmental Law (PIEL) UK.

Why are you interested in environmental law?

Environmental law wasn’t an option on my undergraduate Law degree so I decided to study a Masters in Law to find out more about it. I loved the breadth and depth what I learned. Environmental law is wide ranging, and can have impacts for people and communities as well as on flora, fauna, and the elements.

I became involved with PIEL UK during my postgraduate studies, and helped to organise the PIEL UK 2014 conference which examined the environmental impact of corporations.  During my Bar studies, I undertook a three month legal internship in the Biodiversity team at ClientEarth.  These roles made me understand the importance of public engagement in decisions and laws relating to the built and natural environments.  ELF’s vital work in helping participation and access to justice in environmental matters is therefore something I strongly support.

How did you get involved with ELF?

I heard ELF’s Chair, David Hart QC, deliver an impromptu talk on ELF’s work and a passionate call for volunteer lawyers during a conference I attended.  I was inspired to get involved with ELF and got in contact to ask how I could help.  Although I’m not yet a practising lawyer, I have legal writing experience and really enjoy it; I’ve authored articles on environmental hot topics for the LexisNexis ‘Purpose Built’ public blog, UKELA’s online journal, ‘e-law’, and the Environmentalist magazine’s monthly case column update.  And that’s how I came to be ELF’s blogger/newsletter contributor! I hope you’ve liked reading my posts as much as I have writing them.

Our newest blogger is Tabea Wilkes.

Tabea is currently working as a Policy Officer for the RSPB in Cardiff, setting post-2020 biodiversity targets in Wales. She completed her undergraduate degree at Cardiff Law and whilst there worked on the ELF Pro Bono clinic.

Why are you interested in environmental law?

Environmental law is an incredibly exciting, varied and rewarding field to work in. But working to protect our natural environment often feels like an uphill battle. Between public interests, private companies, and government priorities, the rights of nature are more often than not considered secondary, rather than a necessity, for our survival. So like any diligent rock climber, we need to make sure that when we make progress, we don’t fall back. Environmental law has the power to do this. When our campaign work, policy work, and advocacy work on securing new protection for nature is successful, environmental law enshrines this protection and secures our success. Holding the power to do this makes this field particularly interesting to me.

How did you get involved with ELF?

The field of environmental law in the UK is incredibly fast paced, and reading and contributing to platforms like the ELF blog is a fantastic way to share ideas and keep up to date on recent developments. I have also recently become involved with the Cardiff Law School ELF Legal Clinic, which last year challenged the decision to dump sediments from the Hinckley nuclear power station into Cardiff Bay. I did my undergraduate degree in Cardiff and I was part of the Innocence Project, another successful Pro Bono Clinic. I have the greatest respect for the students who volunteer their free time to work on these cases and am excited to be involved in another project at this fantastic law school.