Researcher biography

Justine Bell-James is an Associate Professor at the TC Beirne School of Law with expertise in environmental and climate change law. She holds a PhD from QUT (2010) and was a postdoctoral research fellow at UQ's Global Change Institute from 2011-2013.

Justine's main research interest is legal mechanisms for the protection, management and restoration of coastal and marine ecosystems. She currently leads an ARC Discovery Project (2019-2023) considering how coastal wetland ecosystem services can be integrated into legal frameworks. She is also currently funded as the legal expert on the $3m CSIRO/BHP project 'Accelerating Adoption and Implementation of Blue Carbon in Australia' and on two National Environmental Science Program projects to lead legal analysis on interdisciplinary projects related to coastal wetland restoration.

Justine's work on legal mechanisms to facilitate blue carbon projects in Australia and internationally informed the development of a 'blue carbon' methodology under Australia's Emissions Reduction Fund. This methodology has allowed for the carbon abatement generated by particular coastal restoration activities to receive Australian Carbon Credit Units. Much of her research now focuses on remaining legal barriers to upscaling coastal and marine restoration, including legal permitting processes and land tenure.

Justine's work cuts across disciplines, and she is an affiliated researcher with UQ's Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science. Her recent collaborations and consultancies have involved colleagues from science, industry, NGOs, government and legal practice.

Justine also has expertise in climate change litigation, and her work on opportunities for litigation under Queensland's Human Rights Act 2019 has underpinned the successful Waratah Coal case decided by Queensland's Land Court in 2022.