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Environmental Law (LAWS70068)

Graduate coursework level 7Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework Level 7
Subject codeLAWS70068
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

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.

Eligibility and requirements


This subject is only offered to students from the Office for Environmental Programs.



Non-allowed subjects


Recommended background knowledge

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home


Additional details

  • Take-home examination (4,000 - 5,000 words) (50%) (4 - 7 October)
  • Research essay (4,000 words) (50%) (27 November) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator

Quotas apply to this subject

Dates & times

  • September
    Principal coordinatorLee Godden
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours24-34 hours
    Total time commitment150 hours
    Pre teaching start date12 August 2019
    Pre teaching requirementsThe pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.
    Teaching period 9 September 2019 to 13 September 2019
    Last self-enrol date 6 August 2019
    Census date 9 September 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail18 October 2019
    Assessment period ends27 November 2019

    September contact information


    Professor Lee Godden (Coordinator)Mr Brendan Sydes

    Email: law-masters@unimelb.edu.au
    Phone: +61 3 8344 6190
    Website: law.unimelb.edu.au

Additional delivery details

This subject has a quota of 30 students.

Enrolment is on a first come, first served basis. Waitlists are maintained for subjects that are fully subscribed.

Students should note priority of places in subjects will be given as follows:

  • To currently enrolled Graduate Diploma and Masters students with a satisfactory record in their degree
  • To other students enrolling on a single subject basis, eg Community Access Program (CAP) students, cross-institutional study and cross-faculty study.

Please refer to the Melbourne Law Masters website for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.

Further information

Last updated: 11 September 2019