Energy Regulation and the Law

Subject LAWS70141 (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:

March, 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




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:


For more information, contact the Melbourne Law Masters office.

Email or phone +61 3 8344 6190.

Alternatively, visit our website:

Subject Overview:

Adequate, reliable and sustainable supplies of energy are crucial to modern societies, and their assurance demands the close and continuous involvement of governments. This subject explains the challenges – affordability, security of supply, safety, control of monopoly, sustainability in an age of global warming – that the economic and technical characteristics of different energy sources present to governments in Australia, and analyses the regulatory tools that they have at their disposal for responding to such challenges. It shows how law can function both as an essential vehicle for such regulation and as a constraint on its content. The lecturer is a leading international authority on oil and gas law and has published extensively in the field of regulation.

  • What is regulation?
  • What is the relationship between regulation and law?
  • General explanations and justifications for regulation
  • Regulatory issues posed by the supply of different types of energy:
    − Mineral energies: Coal, petroleum and uranium
    − Network energies: Electricity, gas
    − Renewable energies
  • Regulatory responses: Laissez-faire, public ownership and operation, licensing, price and export controls, operational controls and subsidies
  • The Australian regulatory environment: Federal structure, geography and markets, impacts of international regulation, competition policy and independent regulatory authorities
  • Two or more case studies:
    − Electricity (or gas): From State monopolies to regulated national markets
    − Oil and gas: Public ownership and private operation
    − Uranium: Trade and security issues
    − Renewable energies: Regulatory incentives
  • Evaluating energy regulation: Legitimacy, legality, accountability, fairness, efficiency and effectiveness.

A student who has successfully completed this subject should:

  • Understand the phenomenon of regulation as an activity of government and its relationship with law
  • Understand the issues raised by different types of energy sources that may call for regulatory solutions
  • Have a sound knowledge of the Australian regulatory regimes for the types of energy covered in the subject
  • Be able to offer a critical appraisal of those regimes by reference to regulatory theory and comparative practice.

Take-home examination (40%) (12 pm 18 May to 5 pm 21 May)

6,000 word research paper (60%) (21 June) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator

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:

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