Profile of Emily Turnbull

Emily Turnbull

Managing Associate, BA (Hons), MA Pub & Int Law, MSc Environ Management

About Emily Turnbull

Emily is a general commercial litigator and ESG specialist based in Melbourne.

She advises on contentious matters (including Federal and Supreme Court litigation, domestic and international arbitration, regulatory enforcement and investigations, and commissions and inquiries), as well as on investment agreements and treaties. Emily also assists clients in non-judicial processes, such as OECD National Contact Point and UN Special Procedure complaints, and with designing grievance mechanisms and remediation protocols.

She works with clients across industries and sectors, and has particular experience in mining and resources, financial services and private capital, clean energy, healthcare, infrastructure and industrials.

Emily is a member of our ESG centre of excellence and co-leads our Business Human Rights practice with Rachel Nicolson. A significant part of Emily's practice involves working with inhouse teams and boards to uplift, embed and evolve ESG, drawing on her contentious-disputes experience to work with clients on strategies to mitigate legal risks and leverage opportunities.

She was recognised as one to watch in Chambers & Partners 2024 Business Human Rights Law.

Emily's experience at Allens includes:

  • regulatory enforcement proceedings by the Australian Energy Regulator in the Federal Court in relation to the 2016 South Australia black system event;  
  • class action proceedings in the Federal Court (and on appeal to the Full Federal Court and High Court) regarding allegedly defective vehicle transmissions;
  • representative proceedings in the Singapore Court of Appeal alleging environmental damage and related breaches of fiduciary duties, and the tort of deceit; 
  • a preliminary discovery application in the Federal Court regarding risk management, and reporting of climate change and nature-related risks;
  • a final injunction application by the Australian Conservation Foundation in the Federal Court, concerning alleged climate change impacts on the Great Barrier Reef;
  • climate change litigation in the Federal Court by strategic litigants in relation to commitments in a public-facing ESG policy;
  • proceedings in the Victorian Supreme Court in relation to allegations of nuisance at the Macarthur windfarm;
  • judicial review proceedings by Environment Victoria to quash the EPA's decision to amend operational air emissions limits – this was a test case in relation to the requirements of the Climate Change Act 2017 (Vic);
  • complaints to the Australian OECD National Contact Point and UN Special Procedures relating to allegations of human rights and environmental impacts at subsidiary mining operations in Australia, PNG and Chile;
  • a human rights grievance by Traditional Owners regarding allegations of human rights and environmental impacts (including lack of Indigenous consent);
  • bribery investigations conducted by the Australian Federal Police; and
  • the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, and the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.
  • Environment:
    • climate- and nature-related corporate commitments;
    • disclosures of climate- and nature-related risks;
    • greenwashing assurance reviews and verification; and
    • responding to shareholder activism and defending litigation.
  • Social:
    • compliance with human rights laws;
    • alignment with international human rights laws, standards and frameworks (such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, UN Global Compact, Equator Principles, RE100, Paris Agreement, Principles for Responsible Banking, UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights);
    • human rights policy design;
    • operational and value chain risk management (including human rights saliency and impact assessments, human rights due diligence, and connection to impact analysis);
    • human rights contract clauses and transactional due diligence;
    • disclosures, including ones related to modern slavery reporting legislation;
    • bluewashing assurance reviews and verification; and
    • engagement and consultation, including the interaction between business and First Nations peoples.
  • Governance:
    • ESG head office support, including reviewing sustainability strategies, policies and disclosures (including annual reports and standalone sustainability reports);
    • AGM preparation on sustainability matters, including shareholder engagement and activism;
    • advising on the implementation of sustainability commitments; and
    • integrity and corporate crime matters.

Before joining Allens, Emily was an associate in the Disputes and Investigations team at Slaughter and May, and then a member of the Environment and Climate Change team at Allen and Overy in London.