Clean Technology Law and Policy

Subject LAWS90010 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

February, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 07-Jan-2015
Teaching Period 04-Feb-2015 to 10-Feb-2015
Assessment Period End 13-May-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 12-Jan-2015
Census Date 04-Feb-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 27-Mar-2015

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:

The pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.


No prerequisites; helpful if students have a basic understanding of regulatory policy and economics

Corequisites: None
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: None
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 and critique 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 to 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:

Phone: +61 3 8344 6190

Subject Overview:

This subject will evaluate a range of policies and clean technologies which have been adopted as part of the emerging global effort to mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases associated with climate change. It will examine the legal, economic, and policy dimensions of efforts to promote the development and diffusion of clean technologies, emphasising the role of market-based mechanisms and patent rights. The subject will focus on policy developments in the United States, Europe, and Australia, and will assess the merits of different policy instruments (eg patents, renewable energy portfolio standards, tax breaks, direct subsidies, prizes) as means of overcoming the barriers to development and deployment of clean technologies. A series of technology-specific case studies will be discussed, with technologies including renewable sources of electricity, biofuels used in transportation, green building, smart grids, and carbon capture and sequestration. The subject will utilise in-class exercises, including clean technology pitches, a simulated trading regime, policy critiques, and project development scenarios. Students should note that traditional regulation of fossil fuels and economic regulation in the electricity sector will not be covered.

Principal topics include:

  • Clean technology - barriers and opportunities
  • Economics of positive and negative externalities
  • Traditional environmental regulation and innovation
  • Promoting smart grids and green building
  • Renewable energy policies
  • Policy myths and realities of grey technologies.
Learning Outcomes:

This subject will give students specialized analytical and technical skills in the areas of energy, environmental, and intellectual property law. Students will learn to analyse subjects in these areas critically, as well as to reflect on and synthesize complex legal and technical information, problems, concepts, and theories. Skills developed will include researching and applying relevant theories and information, interpreting laws and policies, and presentation skills relevant to working in a variety of legal and policy settings. The subject is designed to enable students to apply the knowledge and skills they gain independently and to enhance their professional judgment and adaptability.

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Gain an advanced and integrated understanding of the economic principles of innovation policy and environmental externalities
  • Develop a sophisticated knowledge of the policy instruments used in Australia and abroad to promote the development and deployment of new technologies (eg, intellectual property rights, tax incentives, subsidies), including recent developments in laws and policies
  • Have an advanced understanding of specific clean technology laws and policies being implemented at the local, state, national, and international levels
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness of these legal and policy regimes
  • Be an engaged participant in debate regarding emerging and contemporary issues in the field, such as the relative effectiveness, practical viability, economic implications, and barriers to implementing policies to promote clean technologies
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging legal issues relating to policies designed to promote clean technologies
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding policies relevant to promoting clean technologies
  • Be able demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the fields of environmental law, innovation policy, and intellectual property law.
  • In-class presentation and 1,000-1,500 word written presentation (25%) (4 March)
  • Take-home examination (75%) (27-30 March)
  • 7,500 word research paper (75%) (13 May) 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. Details regarding any prescribed texts will be provided prior to the commencement of the subject.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:

This subject has a quota of 30 students. Please refer to the website for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.

Download PDF version.