Environmental Law

Subject LAWS70068 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

September, 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: The total class time is between 24 and 26 hours.
Total Time Commitment: Not available

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



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.

Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit: www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


Prof Cheryl Saunders


For more information, contact the Melbourne Law Masters office.

Email law-masters@unimelb.edu.au or phone +61 3 8344 6190.

Alternatively, visit our website:


Subject Overview:

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 protection (Environmental Effects Act 1979 Vic) and pollution control legislation (Environment Protection Act 1970). There will be an introduction to International environmental law. Principal topics will include:

  • The growing importance of international law, with the recognition that environmental protection issues cross regulatory boundaries
  • Greater integration between relevant discipline areas concerned with environmental protection
  • Greater diversity in environmental law approaches, including integration with other regulatory areas such as planning, natural resource management, water use and indigenous land management, and financial measures and economic instruments.

These themes will be illustrated by case studies in the following areas:

  • Environmental law: ESD and changing conceptions of Environment
  • Environmental actors, including public interest litigation
  • The range of legal and regulatory tools deployed 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.

A student who has successfully completed this subject should:

  • Gain an understanding of the evolution of environmental law and the factors driving change at an international and national level
  • Appreciate the pervasive nature of environmental regulation
  • Understand the influence of other disciplines, such as science, on the scope and character of environmental law
  • 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, such as cumulative impact assessment
  • Understand the need for integration across many areas of law to achieve environmental goals, such as ecologically sustainable development.

Take-home exam (50%) 12 pm 12 October to 5 pm 15 October;


Research essay of 4,000 words (50%) due 19 November 2012.

Prescribed Texts:

Core subject materials will be provided free of charge to all students. Some subjects require further texts to be purchased. Visit the Melbourne Law Masters website for more information about this subject.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information: http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au/masters/courses-and-subjects/subject-details/sid/5506
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Climate Change
Conservation, Restoration and Landscape Management
Energy Efficiency Modelling and Implementation
Energy Studies
Governance, Policy and Communication
Integrated Water Catchment Management
Public Health
Sustainable Cities, Sustainable Regions
Sustainable Forests
Waste Management

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