26 July 2011

The University of Queensland is preparing for an increased uptake in post-graduate legal courses as lawyers, consultants and accountants prepare to implement the Government’s carbon tax scheme, due to take effect in July 2012.

Head of the TC Beirne School of Law Professor Ross Grantham said he expected a significant demand for specialist skills in areas such as consumer law, contracts, taxation, climate change and policy, and mining and offshore resources law.

“UQ has worked extensively with industry and the law profession to design a range of intensive-style courses that anticipate and meet the needs of legal and business professionals,” he said.

“The carbon tax will have an impact on vast areas of the law and we will be ready to support and deliver the skills that industry needs to address these new challenges.”

Statistics recently published in The Australian showed that lawyers would be one of the biggest winners in the country’s new carbon pricing scheme.

Figures released by research firm IBIS World predict an initial rise of 3.8 percent in the demand for lawyers, while large firms will have the most to gain from legal challenges to the new tax by energy-intensive companies.

Accountants and engineering consultancy services are also predicted to profit from the scheme as mining and other carbon-intensive industries take action to reduce their greenhouse emissions.

While the Federal Government has indicated that the carbon tax will be paid by 500 companies, many more taxpayers including small business and individuals will be affected through the proposed income tax reform offered as part of the carbon price compensation package.

UQ taxation law specialist Associate Professor Dr Kerrie Sadiq said this would affect a wide range of taxpayers.

“Accountants and lawyers will require skills in the nuances of the new tax as well as reform to the existing income tax regime to provide informed advice to clients,” he said.

“Legal training will be vital for professionals as they come to terms with the complexities of the Government’s Clean Energy package.

“Those who upgrade their skills will find themselves better placed to understand and manage the legal implications of the carbon tax and its effect on different stakeholders.”

The UQ Master of Laws for law graduates and the Applied Law programs for non-law graduates offer over forty courses each year within nine specialist areas of law for professionals working in corporate and commercial, international business, litigation and public sector law, as well as those involved in the increasingly popular fields of science and technology, environment, energy and resources, and alternative dispute resolution.

Courses are designed to fit the needs of graduates in the workforce with many offered intensively over four days, usually from Thursday to Sunday, at UQ’s St Lucia campus or a Brisbane city venue.
Courses may also be studied on a non-award or a Continuing Professional Development basis.

For further information visit www.law.uq.edu.au/master-of-laws

Media: Melissa Reynolds, TC Beirne School of Law, 07 3365 2523, m.reynolds@law.uq.edu.au