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The CLA Americas Hub presents “What Lawyers need to know about responding to the climate crisis: is it possible to be effective especially in relation to the most vulnerable””

September 15

The CLA Americas Hub is honoured to welcome the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, The Rt Hon Philip Davis QC, to give the opening address at a webinar exploring “What Lawyers need to know about responding to the climate crisis: is it possible to be effective especially in relation to the most vulnerable””

A stellar panel will discuss how the state-led approach has been largely unsuccessful to date: what began in the 1980s as climate change is now widely recognized as the climate crisis.

Recently, there has been new interest in corporate action through environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics. Corporate emissions make up a large part of historic global emissions yet remain largely unregulated at the international treaty level. Lawyers can also address whether regulating climate change resembles other “environmental” problems or is a unique problem. A different legal lens is to consider the tragedy of the commons and the issue of externalities. Consider, for example, the world’s most successful response to externalities that have no local effects – just global effects: global regulation of ozone-depleting substances (ODSs). This succeeded because, early on, science offered alternatives to the emission of ODSs so that industry could all but eliminate these emissions.

In the aftermath of Glasgow (CoP26) and as we approach Sharm El Sheikh (CoP27) in November 2022, how can we be most effective, especially in relation to the most vulnerable?

Moderated by the Vice President of the Hub, Dr Peter Maynard, the panel comprises the Minister of State for the Seychelles Patrick Payet, Dr Lisa Benjamin from the Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, CLA Council member Fiona McLeod AO SC from Australia and Rodney Northey, an environmental lawyer from Toronto.

DATE : Thursday 15th September


11.00 am Kingston

12 midday Nassau

17.00 London/Abuja

18.00 Lusaka CAT

19.00 Nairobi EAT

20.00 Seychelles

Register here


  • Dr Peter Maynard, Vice President of the Americas Hub
  • Teni Housty, CLA Council member for Guyana


  • (The Hon) Philip Davis, QC Prime Minister & Minister of Finance


  • Dr Lisa Benjamin of the Lewis and Clark Law School, Portland, Oregon
  • Patrick Payment, Secretary of State, Ministry of Finance, Seychelles
  • Rodney Northey , an environmental lawyer from Gowling WLG, Canada
  • Fiona Ey, CLA Council member for Samoa and co-convenor of the CLA Climate Justice Committee

There will be an opportunity for a Q &A with the Panel at the end of the webinar via the chat function.


(The Hon) Philip Davis, QC Prime Minister & Minister of Finance

The Hon. Philip Edward Davis was sworn in on 17th September 2021 as the fifth Prime Minister of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and soon after as Minister of Finance. Following a snap general election, Mr. Davis led his Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) to a landslide victory, securing 32 out of 39 seats in the House of Assembly. Mr. Davis was first elected as Member of Parliament in 1991. Since 2002, he has represented the constituency of Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador. From 2002-2007, he was appointed to Chair the National Insurance Board, where he implemented a number of major reforms. In 2009, Mr. Davis was elected Deputy Leader of the PLP. When the party regained power in 2012, he was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Works and Urban Development. His portfolio included everything relating to the physical infrastructure of The Bahamas. He also held Cabinet responsibility for Bahamasair, the national airline, The Bahamas Electricity Corporation, and The Water & Sewerage Corporation. In May 2017, Mr. Davis was elected Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party, and served as Leader of The Opposition until his election victory in 2021. As the longest-serving member of parliament, he is also recognised as the Father of The House. Before entering parliament, Mr. Davis built an outstanding international career as a highly-acclaimed corporate and human rights lawyer. He was called to the Bahamas Bar in 1975, where he served two terms as Vice-President and one as President of the Bahamas Bar Council. A former Member of the Council of Legal Education for CARICOM, in 2015 he was appointed Queen’s Counsel. In 1970 Mr. Davis became a member of Toastmaster Club 1600, a non-profit organisation established to develop leadership skills through listening, thinking and speaking. He served as President in 1979, and as Division Governor of Toastmasters for The Bahamas in 1989. A keen sportsman, interested in baseball, softball, swimming and athletics, Mr. Davis served as Vice-President of the Bahamas Swim Federation from 1986 to 1990, and was President of the Sea Bees Swim Club from 1980 to 1990. Philip Davis was born on born 7th June 1951

Dr Peter Maynard

Dr. Peter D. Maynard is CLA Vice President (Americas)

He is Senior Partner of Peter D. Maynard Counsel & Attorneys, a full-service commercial firm. His preferred areas of practice include complex civil litigation, and asset tracing and recovery. Having practiced for more than 40 years, he is also an arbitrator and mediator and engaged in the training of the next generation of lawyers, as Head of the Law Department of the University of The Bahamas.

He acted as a High Court Justice; Deputy Chair, Regional Judicial and Legal Service Commission of the Caribbean Court of Justice, Trinidad and Tobago; Newspaper Columnist; Economist at the United Nations, New York; later a Diplomat there; Legal Adviser of the Bahamas Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution, an economics think tank in Washington D.C.

Former President of the Organization of Commonwealth Caribbean Bar Associations and of the Bahamas Bar Association, he held leadership positions in several other lawyers’ organizations, such as the International Bar Association (IBA), the World Jurist Association, and the Inter-American Bar Association.

Multilingual, he lived, studied and worked in Canada, Europe, UK, US and other jurisdictions. He has written widely. He also co-edited the book “Poverty, Justice and the Rule of Law” for the IBA. He founded over eight years ago the annual Arbitration and Investment Summit: Caribbean, Latin America and Other Emerging Markets.

He holds an LLM from Jesus College Cambridge and a PhD from Johns Hopkins University in international law, among other degrees and awards. He was called to the Bars of the Bahamas, England and Wales, Antigua- Barbuda, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos Islands.

Teni Housty

Past President of the Bar Association of Guyana, 2008 to 2010, 2019 to 2021. Serving Vice-President 2021 – 2022. As a member of the CLA from Guyana, he brings a unique combination of litigation experience, academic and professional qualifications in a multitude of areas, including Mediation, Environmental Law, Human Rights , Employment Law and Intellectual Property Law.

He has been admitted to practice at the Guyana Bar, since 1996 and the Trinidad and Tobago Bar in 2007.  Additional academic Qualifications include:  University of Liverpool, Liverpool, England, Master of Business Administration (MBA), Distinction, December, 2014; University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, Master of Laws (LL.M), July 2002. In 2021 sworn in as one of the first Commissioners of the Law Reform Commission of Guyana. One of the leading mediation practitioners in Guyana, as well as a lecturer at the University of Guyana in Intellectual Property Law and Human Rights Law. He has delivered consultancies on several subjects of environmental law, including the enforcement of Multilateral Environmental Agreements.

It is from this foundation it is felt that he is able to support and extend the work of the CLA in the English speaking Caribbean, with Guyana as an emerging player in the global Oil and Gas arena, Guyana’s membership on the Council can provide opportunities for fellow practitioners to support development of the capacities of the Guyana Bar.

Dr Lisa Benjamin

Dr. Lisa Benjamin is an Assistant Professor and Lewis & Clark Law School where she teaches International Climate Change, Environmental Justice, Energy Resources and Administrative Law. Her research investigates the intersection of corporate, energy and environmental law with a focus on climate risk and climate justice. She also researches climate change from the perspective of developing countries. She is currently a member of the Compliance Committee (Facilitative Branch) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a member of the Expert Peer Review Group of the UN-backed Race to Zero Campaign, and has been an adviser to, and member of, the Bahamian national delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Patrick Payet

Mr. Patrick Payet has an Honours degree in Accounting and Finance from the University of Manchester, and a First Class Master’s Degree in Leadership and Strategy from the Institute of Public Administration in Ireland, obtained through the Seychelles Young Leaders Programme in 2009. Mr. Payet also hold a professional qualification in Association of Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA) since 2005.

Mr. Payet started his career in 2006 in the Seychelles Ministry of Finance as Chief Finance Officer. He has held a number of senior positions in the Ministry. Mr. Payet is currently the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Finance, National Planning and Trade.

Mr Payet is also on several state-owned enterprises boards and committees within Government and working with the private sector on several reforms initiatives which include the Chairperson of the AML/CFT committee. Mr Payet has also led the Seychelles’ team on several financing initiatives especially the First World Blue Bond. He is leading the Seychelles’ team working with the IMF, World Bank and AFDB on a number of key economic reforms.

Rodney Northey

Rod Northey is a partner in Gowling WLG’s Toronto office and past leader of the firm’s Climate Change and Environmental Law Group in Canada.

He is in his 30th year of private practice in environmental law and certified by the Law Society of Ontario as a specialist in this field. His current practice focuses on regulatory approvals and strategies across the full range of approval regimes involving the environment — including environmental assessment, land use, endangered species, cultural heritage, energy, resource extraction, transportation, waste management, and water approvals.

Rod’s strategic work in environmental assessment is widely acknowledged. From August 2016 to March 2017, Rod was a member of the expert panel appointed by the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change to carry out a Canada-wide consultation and review of Canada’s environmental assessment process. Similarly, from May 2016 to May 2017, Rod was a member of the GTA West Advisory Panel appointed by the Ontario Minister of Transportation to conduct a strategic review of a major environmental assessment for future transportation infrastructure in the GTA West corridor.

Clients facing novel regulatory challenges retain Rod for his innovative regulatory strategies.

Ongoing client work has Rod leading legal teams for several major environmental assessments in the transportation, energy and mining sectors across Ontario and in Nunavut:

  • Five Ontario municipalities participating in a federal environmental assessment hearing and a court challenge over constitutional issues
  • A northern Inuit government proposing a port and all-season road
  • A northern Ontario First Nation proposing an all-season road within its traditional territory

As litigation counsel, Rod has been involved in dozens of tribunal and court appeals, including more than 40 reported environmental law decisions before federal and Ontario trial and appellate courts, and Ontario environmental and land use tribunals, including acting for the applicant in Ontario’s first renewable energy approval hearing, and leading the City of Burlington through a 100-day resource extraction hearing on the Niagara Escarpment.

Throughout his career, Rod has been active in environmental law reform. He was a member of the 2004 Ontario executive panel appointed by the Minister of the Environment to reform Ontario environmental assessment for green energy, transit, and waste management. He was also a member of the Ontario task force to develop the province’s two-million-acre greenbelt. Rod has been retained by the federal government to deal with law reform on the precautionary principle, applying environmental assessment to Crown corporations. For several years in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Rod provided advice and assistance to the then-Canadian International Development Agency on applying environmental assessment to projects outside Canada, including review of international and global assessment regimes and attendance at international discussions. He has also appeared before parliamentary and senate committees on the topics of environmental assessment and constitutional law.

Rod is an adjunct faculty member at Osgoode Hall Law School’s Energy and Infrastructure Law LLM program for its course on environmental protection. He is recognized by his peers in national and international listings, for environmental law, including Lexpert, Who’s Who Legal: The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers and The Best Lawyers in Canada.

Rod is author of the Guide to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (LexisNexis Canada), published annually, as well as the 1995 Annotated Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and EARP Guidelines Order (Carswell). He is also author of law journal articles on the integration of environmental and planning law in Ontario infrastructure, federalism and environmental law, the role of municipalities in Canada’s energy strategies, and the fading role of alternatives in federal environmental assessment.

Fiona Ey

Fiona Ey is a Founding Partner of Clarke Ey Koria Lawyers in Apia, Samoa. Her practice focuses on cross-border transactional and dispute resolution work. Over 25 years of practice in the Pacific region and Australia, she has developed particular expertise in corporate, finance, tourism, intellectual property and telecommunications matters. She has consulted extensively in governance and public policy across the region.

Fiona is consistently recognised as a Leading Lawyer for the Pacific Islands in Chambers Asia-Pacific and Global rankings.

Fiona holds a Masters in International Law and undergraduate degrees in history and law from the Australian National University, Canberra. She was admitted to the bar in Samoa in 2002 and the Australian Capital Territory in 1997. She is also an alumna of the East-West Center’s leadership programmes in Hawaii.

Since 2017, Fiona has been Papua New Guinea’s Honorary Consul to Samoa. She also holds the office of Notary Public. Fiona has served on the Samoa Law Society’s Complaints and Investigation Committee since 2018 and is a member of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association and LAWASIA.

Fiona is passionate about the fundamental role that rule of law plays to promote fairness and protect human rights, particularly in small island developing states. She has published various articles about rule of law through Samoa’s constitutional and political crises.

Fiona is a strong believer in community service and mentorship. She was formerly chair of the Samoa Small Business Enterprise Centre (2010-2018), which supports grassroots economic development through access to finance, business training and advisory services. In 2018, Fiona founded Apia International School, an online learning initiative, to promote access to secondary education. She is a mentor to the Eco Toa Pacific youth environment initiative and the Community Music Programme at the National University of Samoa, as well as Honorary Solicitor for Samoa Lifeline / Faataua le Ola.