Ruth Dawes

Ruth Dawes

Baker & McKenzie


Ruth Dawes is a partner in the national Environmental and Climate Change Group in Sydney. With over 20 years of experience and substantial expertise in all aspects of environment and planning law, Ruth has particular experience advising on major projects, sustainability and renewables.

Ruth is passionate about helping businesses find new opportunities in transitioning to a net zero emissions future, while also being deeply involved in the required energy transition to renewables.

Ruth is an experienced solicitor advocate who has represented clients in the Land and Environment Court, Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, Federal Court and High Court of Australia.

Ruth also worked in London at the Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development and the Carbon Capture and Storage Legal Programme within University College London.

Practice Focus

Spanning projects varying from environmental markets, recycled water plants to light rail operations, Ruth has extensive experience working on major project planning and approval pathways, climate change, ESG, biodiversity, Aboriginal cultural heritage, land contamination and remediation, along with environmental compliance.

Representative Legal Matters

Ruth handled the following matters prior to joining Baker McKenzie:  

  • Advised the Australian Energy Market Commission on the emission reductions requirement of the National Energy Guarantee.
  • Advised TransGrid in connection with the New England Renewable Energy Zone.
  • Advised Australian energy market operator on multijurisdictional planning and environment matters for the VNI West transmission interconnector between Victoria and NSW.
  • Advised landholder on a carbon project services agreement for the transfer of ACCUs generated from the sequestration of carbon in soil under the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011 (Cth).
  • Advised on the preparation of a due diligence report on ESG in respect of a State Significant Development real estate transaction.
  • Advised international real estate client on ESG clauses within sustainability-linked financial instruments.
  • Advised Infrastructure NSW on planning matters in respect of Powerhouse Parramatta. Successful defense of a legal challenge in the Land and Environment Court and Court of Appeal.
  • Advised Infrastructure NSW on planning matters in respect of the Sydney Football Stadium. Successful defense of a legal challenge in the Land and Environment Court and Court of Appeal prior to the 2019 NSW State election.
  • Advised Sydney Metro on the Greater West metro rail system to Western Sydney Airport (Badgery's Creek) worth AUD 12 billion, including environmental processes (EPBC Act, Airports Act and EPA) and negotiations with the Commonwealth and WSA Co.
  • Advised Sydney Water on the delivery of innovative water and infrastructure services to Sydney Science Park.

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • UK Environmental Law Association
  • National Environmental Law Association


  • High Court of Australia (2012)
  • New South Wales (2004)


  • University College London (LLM Environmental Law and Policy) (2010)
  • University of Sydney (LLB (Hons), BCom) (2003)


  • English
  • Japanese