Who we are
Lawyers for Nature (LFN) is a Community Interest Company whose origins lie in the successful legal assistance given by our co-founder, Barrister Paul Powlesland, to a grassroots campaign to save thousands of street trees from being felled in Sheffield. We aim to democratise access to legal support for those seeking to defend the natural world.
LFN’s members are a mix of law students, professionals and volunteers from a diverse range of backgrounds. We are united by our drive to create a more inclusive legal system, so that community action groups and environmental defenders can access the support they need to protect nature and their local environment. We do this through a mixture of education and awareness, while raising funds for specific local projects.
We seek to change the legal profession. We do this broadly in three ways: by supporting students and lawyers to engage with law that aims to protect nature; advocating for the Rights of Nature through the use of soft power, adapting the corporate governance of organisations around the UK; and through research on cutting-edge legal concepts related to nature, including legal representation of non-persons and how that interacts with the right to a healthy environment.
Currently, the lawyers working for large companies and developers, seeking to develop and build on green space, vastly outnumber the lawyers advising those groups seeking to defend their local environments. We seek to redress this legal and power imbalance, through the use of our volunteer network, knowledge database and in-development legal advice clinic.
We will do our utmost to support environmental protection casework, particularly of strategic importance in the fight to protect the natural world. However, as a volunteer organisation, it is essential we focus our resources where we are able to have the most impact. This means we deal with larger administrative cases, such as judicial reviews, and are less able to assist with smaller ad hoc, local casework.
We will use our own resources or signpost to other resources, if we cannot support a particular case due to current capacity constraints. Our community is rapidly evolving, so get involved! Please support Lawyers for Nature by subscribing to our newsletters, which you can do on the homepage of this website.
Paul Powlesland - Head of Legal
Paul is a barrister at Garden Court Chambers. He specialises in upholding the rights of environmental activists to protest and protect the natural world, and uses environmental law and regulations to defend trees, rivers and wildlife. Paul is the co-founder of Lawyers for Nature and regularly gives talks and workshops on the rights of nature, the relationship between the law and the natural world and what barristers and other lawyers should do in a time of climate and ecological emergency. As a boat dweller for many years, he is also determined to protect the rights of boaters and other Traveller groups.
Brontie Ansell - Head of Research
Brontie is a Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Essex. Brontie specialises in clinical legal education, land and property law, and wild law. She is also the Supervisor at Essex Legal Clinic, offering free legal advice and legal support to those who most need it. Brontie is a co-founder of Lawyers for Nature, her core focus being the production of legal guides and as the student liaison for the volunteer network. Brontie also provides legal advice on matters such as unlawful eviction of environmental camps, planning and judicial reviews, and use of the Localism Act to purchase community assets.
Krishan Nursimooloo - Head of Communications
Currently completing a part-time GDL at the University of Law (ULaw) where he was the Communications Officer for the Bloomsbury Environment Society (Best Society 2021), Krishan brings 10 years' advertising, publishing and marketing experience to Lawyers for Nature. Having read English Literature, and specialised in digital communications and copywriting, he was 2021 Runner-up in the ULaw Online Mooting competition and recipient of Middle Temple's Jules Thorn scholarship. He is excited about connecting LFN's community to create better outcomes for nature. His field of interest includes UK biodiversity and planning law, and the international crime of Ecocide. Krishan is also Community Network Manager at The Chancery Lane Project.
Amy Street - Head of Community
Amy is a public law barrister at Serjeants’ Inn Chambers. Having worked closely on government and parliamentary matters, as well as litigation up to the Supreme Court, she brings twenty years’ expertise on strategy, policy and legal frameworks to Lawyers for Nature. She places great importance on hearing diverse voices and connecting law and the wider world, providing legal and creative consultancy within arts and culture, including a decade as legal advisor to ‘Unreliable Evidence’, BBC Radio 4’s legal discussion programme with Clive Anderson. Collaborating with an innovative not-for-profit teaching law firm at Sheffield Hallam University, and training as a coach, she is passionate about supporting a new generation of lawyers to develop cross-disciplinary work for nature, while also cultivating healthy work practices and creating better legal experiences for all. A novice micro-farmer with the Sheffield Wheat Experiment, she believes that increasing opportunities for nature to play an integral part in people’s lives and communities will promote both biodiversity and wellbeing.
Ketan Jha - Legal Consultant
Ketan is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Business and Law and is also a part of the Law, Society and Justice (LawSoJust) Research and Enterprise Group, which brings together academics from law and related social science disciplines, who are active in the fields of social justice and accountability. An expert in biodiversity and administrative law, Ketan delivers on behalf of the Lawyers for Nature community with insights on local government and judicial review. Ketan is also interested in international climate litigation, and believes we need legal actions engaging citizens in every country to secure a habitable planet for future generations.
Claire Nevin - International Projects Consultant
Claire is a pupil barrister at Francis Taylor Building, a barristers' chambers specialising in public, planning and environmental law. Before coming to the Bar, Claire undertook a Master's degree in Human Rights and worked for the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Geneva, the Council of Europe in Strasbourg and the international NGO, Front Line Defenders. On behalf of Lawyers for Nature, Claire recently co-drafted a submission on the rights of nature to the Irish Citizens' Assembly on Biodiversity Loss and is currently supervising students at Essex Law School as part of a project on the right to a healthy environment. She is also a regular contributor to the Lawyers for Nature blog.
Silvia Cesa-Bianchi - Research Fellow
Silvia is currently interning at UNEP Paris, in a unit which focuses on sustainable consumption and production. Meanwhile, she is research assistant at UCL Laws, working mainly on SDGs implementation and decolonisation of the curriculum. She recently graduated with an LLM in Environmental Law and Policy from UCL, after receiving her undergraduate degree in Comparative European and International Legal Studies from the University of Trento, Italy. Some of her most recent research includes work on green gentrification, and she consistently provides Rights of Nature, legal personhood and environmental policy research to Lawyers for Nature, in addition to her blog contributions.