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Environmental Law is a highly topical subject that engages other fields of law and a wide range of disciplines. It demands critical thinking about the nature and role of law in addressing complex issues. Knowledge of this specialised field is important to the professional practice of law across many sectors. This subject introduces students to both the domestic and international dimensions of environmental regulation. It develops and integrates legal knowledge from a range of sub-disciplinary fields (e.g. administrative law and torts law), augmenting this through study of specific environmental legislation and case law, and relevant multidisciplinary knowledge, to build an understanding of the interactions that define environmental law. Topics addressed include the structures of environmental governance, modes and principles of environmental regulation, and the intersections of domestic and international environmental law. Case studies considered throughout the subject provide students with an understanding of recent developments in this dynamic area.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject should have an advanced and integrated understanding of, and be able to critically analyse, reflect on and synthesise complex information, problems, concepts and theories in relation to, the following issues:
- the evolution of environmental law and the factors driving change at an international and domestic level, spanning national, state and territory, and local governance.
- the pervasive nature of environmental regulation, the actors that shape it and the challenges faced, both domestically and internationally.
- the influence of other disciplines, such as science, on the scope and character of environmental law.
- the principles underpinning, current environmental law approaches.
- key case studies that illustrate the dynamic trends in environmental law, drawing upon both comparative domestic law and international law.
- the breadth of laws necessary to achieve environmental goals, such as ecologically sustainable development.
On completion of the subject, students should have developed and demonstrated expert skills, including:
- Mastery of theoretical knowledge and demonstrated ability to critically reflect on theory and professional practice on issues of environmental law;
- Cognitive, technical and creative skills to investigate, analyse and synthesise complex information, problems, concepts and theories and to apply established theories to different areas of environmental regulation;
- Communication and technical research skills to justify and interpret theoretical propositions, methodologies, conclusions and professional decisions to specialist and non-specialist audiences;
- Technical and communication skills to design, evaluate, implement, analyse and theorise about developments that contribute to environmental professional practice or legal scholarship, at both a domestic and international level;
- Attitudes towards legal knowledge that include openness to new ideas and awareness of location and politics in its creation and use;
- An applied understanding of diverse international, regional and domestic legal materials;
- An expanded capacity for self-directed legal research involving interdisciplinary materials and high level personal autonomy and accountability with respect to time management; and
- An awareness of the value of collaborative learning and participation in a seminar style teaching environment.
Last updated: 11 September 2020