Justine Thornton

Environmental Law Barrister

Biography

Justine is a leading barrister and environmental lawyer. She went to a comprehensive school before going to Cambridge University to study law.

Justine works from 39 Essex Chambers in London. She has also worked for solicitors in the City of London and the European Commission. The cases she works on cover a wide range of environmental topics including: oils spills in Nigeria; environmental damage in Columbia; illegal shipment of waste to Africa; oil spills; nuclear power; wind farms; asbestos and contaminated land. She has written a textbook on environmental law and is the case law editor of the Journal of Environmental Law.

Justine has given a number of talks for Speakers For Schools. She divides her talk into two parts.

In the first part she aims to inspire children to think about a career in the law. In the second part she draws on her personal experience of going from a comprehensive school to Cambridge University.
In talking about the law she starts by asking her audience for their views on lawyers. This breaks the ice and encourages the children to express their opinions. She uses news reports about some of her high profile cases to excite their interest (oil spills in Nigeria and environmental damage in Colombia). She talks about the legal preparation for trial including her visits to foreign countries, the trial and the outcome.

In the second part of her talk Justine talks about going her experience of going to a state school and Cambridge University before becoming a lawyer. Her theme is that “if she can do it, anyone can”. She explains how childhood acting excited her interest in appearing in Court and arguing about the law before a Judge. She ends her talk with her three “top tips” for success, before taking questions.

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