International Environmental Law

Subject LAWS70219 (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:

April, 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:

International environmental law is the field of public international law concerned with the protection of the natural environment, and those aspects of the built environment recognised as world cultural heritage. It is a vitally important branch of international law, seeking as it does to safeguard the environment upon which humanity depends for its very existence. International environmental law seeks to integrate the activities of diverse actors – states, international organisations, businesses, communities and NGOs – and uses a wide range of legal tools (including economic instruments and participatory mechanisms) to address pressing environmental concerns. This subject explores the critical governance and regulatory dimensions of international environmental law, as well as introducing you to cases and treaties that have been pivotal to the development of this area of international law. All lecturers in the subject are international environmental law experts, with both academic and practical experience in the field, which will be drawn into the delivery of a stimulating and relevant subject.

Principal topics will include:

  • The need for international environmental law and its historical development
  • Fundamental principles and concepts necessary for an understanding of international environmental law, e.g. sustainable development, precautionary principle and polluter pays principle
  • The principal institutions and actors involved in the creation, implementation and enforcement of international environmental law
  • The principal cases and treaties that have been influential in the development of international environmental law
  • Current issues of concern in international environmental law, including atmospheric pollution, the protection of international ‘commons’ areas such as the high seas, the deep seabed and Antarctica, species protection and biodiversity, hazardous substances transportation and international trade.

A student who has successfully completed this subject should:

  • Have an appreciation of the need for, and historical development of, international environmental law
  • Have an understanding of the fundamental principles and concepts of international environmental law
  • Be able to critically analyse the contribution of cases, treaties and institutions to the development of international environmental law
  • Be able to identify problems in the current environmental regime at the global level and think critically about ways to improve international environmental law.

Class presentation (10%)

Written reflective essay (15%) (14 May) on one of the international environmental case studies considered in the materials

7,000 word research paper (75%) (9 July) 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:
Related Course(s): Master of International Business
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Climate Change
Sustainable Forests

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