Michael Uche Ukponu obtained his LL.B (Hons.) degree from Madonna University, Okija, Nigeria in 2012 and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2013. Since then, he has been in active legal practice in diverse areas of law. Until recently, he was a Senior Associate Counsel at The Law Partners (Barristers & Solicitors) since 2013, a full services law firm with offices in Abuja and Kano. Michael specializes in 'E3' - Energy, Extractives and Environmental laws in Nigeria - and has authored/co-authored legal articles and book chapters by published by internationally reputed journals and book publishers in these areas of law. He also has an extended interest in Engineering (Construction) contracts and related matters as they tend to interplay with E3 issues.
It was on the strength of his passion for sustainable development in the renewable energy, natural resources and the environment sectors that Michael was granted the Australia Awards Scholarship by the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to undertake a Master of Energy and Resources Law (LL.M) program at The University of Melbourne, Australia in 2018 - 2019.
Michael is currently a recipient of the prestigious Melbourne Research Scholarship and undertaking a PhD in Environmental Law at The University of Melbourne. He is a graduate researcher affiliated to the Center for Resources, Energy and Environmental Law (CREEL) at the Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne. He is also a member of notable international professional associations, including the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, UK (Australian and Nigerian branches), Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN) and the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ). He pastimes making music, watching/playing soccer games, and discussing political issues.
Centre for Resources, Energy and Environmental Law (CREEL)
The Centre for Resources, Energy and Environmental Law (CREEL) was established in 1986. It is affiliated to the Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne, Australia. CREEL engages in world class research and tutelage in the production and distribution of energy; climate change regulation; sustainable development of natural resources; environmental protection, biodiversity conservation and ecologically sustainable development; development of infrastructure; planning and environmental impact of energy, resources and infrastructure projects; and the recognition and protection of Indigenous rights and interests over land, waters and resources. CREEL also focuses its research on the inter-relationship between government policies, legal and regulatory regimes and administrative practices in these subjects as well as others.
CREEL liaises closely with notable professional and research institutions, including the Australian Mining and Petroleum Law Association (AMPLA); Murray-Darling Basin Commission; National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT); and the Section on Energy, Environment, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Law (SEERIL) of the International Bar Association. CREEL also maintains contact with leading environmental and resources centres in the USA (Colorado), Canada (Vancouver and Calgary) and United Kingdom (Dundee). One of CREEL's objectives for the near future is to strengthen existing contacts and to develop new relationships, particularly in the Asia/Pacific region.