Climate Change Law

Subject LAWS50056 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 5 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

Semester 1, 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: 36 hours, 3 hours per week over 12 weeks.
Total Time Commitment: 144 hours.
Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1
Semester 1
Semester 1
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: Students are recommended to take international law prior to, or in conjunction with, this subject.
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law School welcomes applications from students with disabilities. It is University and Law School policy to take all reasonable steps to enable the participation of students with disabilities, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student’s participation in the School’s programs.

The inherent academic requirements for the study in the Melbourne Law School are:

  1. The ability to attend classes and actively engage in the analysis of complex materials and debate;
  2. The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  3. The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  4. The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  5. The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  6. The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students must possess behavioural and social attributes that enable them to participate in a complex learning environment. Students are required to take responsibility for their own participation and learning. They also contribute to the learning of other students in collaborative learning environments, demonstrating interpersonal skills and an understanding of the needs of other students. Assessment may include the outcomes of tasks completed in collaboration with other students.

Students who feel their disability will prevent them from participating in tasks involving these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit:


Assoc Prof Jacqueline Peel


Melbourne Law School Student Centre
Tel: +61 3 8344 4475
Subject Overview: This subject aims to provide a general introduction to climate change law and regulation at an international, national and local level with comparative examinations of other jurisdictions, as relevant. This will be supplemented by more detailed examination and case studies of specific topics, such as international law frameworks, and federal policy and law responses such as cap and trade emissions trading schemes, and renewable energy responses.

On completion of this subject, students should demonstrate:

  • A working knowledge of the scientific basis for projections of global warming and the impacts of climate change in an ecological, social and economic context;
  • A firm understanding of the drivers for climate change at an international, regional and local level;
  • Sound knowledge of the international legal framework governing climate change issues, including the UNFCCC and associated international instruments together with a capacity to discuss likely trends in international law and regulation;
  • Strong understanding of the nature of climate change litigation and its integration with wider environmental concerns;
  • Strong understanding of the existing and potential legislative responses to climate change mitigation and adaptation including market measures and energy related measures, such as mandatory renewable energy targets;
  • A capacity to critically evaluate the various legislative and regulatory mitigation and adaptation measures at the federal and state level; and
  • A capacity to assess Australia’s progress toward a comprehensive and effective governance framework for climate change.
  • Research Essay of 5,000 words max (80%);
  • Case study of 1,000 words on an allocated aspect of climate change law including a class presentation (20%).

If numbers in the course remain below 25, students will be required to present the findings of their case studies in class.

Prescribed Texts: Nicola Durrant, Legal Responses to Climate Change (Federation Press, 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;
  • Intercultural sensitivity and understanding.

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