Environmental Law

Subject LAWS40057 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: One 2-hour seminar per week.
Total Time Commitment:

120 +/- 24 hours.


Legal Method and Reasoning; Principles of Public Law; Torts; Legal Theory; Constitutional Law; Administrative Law; Property or in each case their equivalents.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills, and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to providing support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/.


Prof Lee Godden


Melbourne Law School Student Centre
Email: law-studentcentre@unimelb.edu.au
Tel: +61 3 8344 4475
Subject Overview:

The subject aims to give students a basic grounding in environmental law in Australia. It explores four main topics:

  1. The concept of environment in law;
  2. Environmental governance and regulatory systems;
  3. The role of science in environmental law;
  4. The international dimension of environmental regulation.

This subject aims that students should:

  • Develop a critical knowledge of the concept of environment in law and the ways in which it has evolved over time;
  • Gain an understanding of governance and regulatory systems in the field of environmental law in Australia, including a basic working knowledge of the principal federal environmental legislation;
  • Develop an appreciation of the interrelationship between national and international environmental law.

At completion of the subject, students should demonstrate:

  • An appreciation of environmental concepts that inform the content and operation of environmental law;
  • An understanding of State/Federal relations in regulation of the environment in Australia;
  • An ability to analyse critically federal legislation and cases related to environmental issues;
  • An understanding of the basic principles of international environmental law and the importance of international environmental law for Australia; and
  • An ability to think critically about contemporary legal issues in the environmental field.
Assessment: Research essay (2,500 words) due week 10 (50%) and open-book 3 hour exam, during the examination period (50%).
Prescribed Texts:

Lee Godden and Jacqueline Peel, Environmental Law: Scientific, Policy and Regulatory Dimensions (OUP, 2010).

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of the subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • Attitudes towards knowledge that include valuing truth, openness to new ideas and ethics associated with knowledge creation and usage;
  • The capacity for close reading and analysis of a range of sources;
  • The capacity for critical and independent thought and reflection;
  • The capacity to solve problems, including through the collection and evaluation of information;
  • The capacity to communicate, both orally and in writing;
  • The capacity to plan and manage time;
  • The capacity to participate as a member of a team;
  • Intercultural sensitivity and understanding.

In addition, on completion of the subject, students should have developed the following skills specific to the discipline of law:

  • Legal writing;
  • Legal research.

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