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This subject is designed as an overview of environmental law for students without a legal background who are admitted to courses through the Office for Environmental Programs. It 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 Victorian laws relevant to pollution control and biodiversity protection. There will also be an introduction to international environmental law.
Principal topics will include:
- Diversity in environmental law approaches, including relationships with other regulatory areas such as planning and natural resource management, and the use of financial measures and economic instruments in regulation
- The importance of international law, recognising that environmental protection issues cross territorial and regulatory boundaries
- Greater integration between relevant disciplines concerned with environmental protection, particularly science
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 interaction of law and science, with a focus on the precautionary principle
- The range of legal and regulatory tools used in environmental law, including market mechanisms
- 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
Intended learning outcomes
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
Last updated: 7 October 2021