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The subject is designed as an overview of environmental law for students without a legal background. A student who has successfully completed this subject should:
- Gain an understanding of the evolution of environmental law and the factors driving change at international and domestic levels
- Appreciate the pervasive nature of environmental law across jurisdictions
- Understand the influence of other disciplines, such as science, on the scope, direction and character of environmental law
- Be able to analyse the nature of current environmental law approaches such as the ‘regulatory mix’
- Be familiar with key case studies that illustrate the dynamic trends in environmental law
- Understand the need for integration across many areas of law to achieve environmental goals, such as ecologically sustainable development.
Intended learning outcomes
This subject will provide an examination of the development and current scope of Australian environmental law, with a focus on the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) and related state environmental assessment laws (eg the Environmental Effects Act 1978 (Vic)) and pollution control legislation (eg the Environment Protection Act 1970 (Vic)). There will be also an introduction to international environmental law.
Principal topics will include:
- Greater diversity in environmental law approaches, including integration with other regulatory areas which could include planning, natural resource management, water use and indigenous land management, and the use of financial measures and economic instruments in regulation.
- The growing importance of international law, with the recognition that environmental protection issues cross territorial and regulatory boundaries
- Greater integration between relevant disciplines concerned with environmental protection
These themes will be illustrated by case studies, which could be situated within the following areas:
- Ecologically sustainable development and changing conceptions of the ‘environment’
- Environmental actors, including public interest litigation
- The range of legal and regulatory tools used in environmental law, including market mechanisms such as emissions trading schemes.
- The interaction of law and science, with a focus on the precautionary principle
- Integration and complexity challenges in implementing environmental law with a focus on biodiversity protection
- International law trends including trade and environment and trans-boundary harms.
Last updated: 3 November 2022