Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


LAWS104 Foundations of Law and Legal Research ; LAWS107 Introduction to Australian Public Law

Teaching organisation

4 hours per week for twelve weeks or equivalent

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit is designed to provide students with an introduction to the domestic and international framework of environmental law. Students will learn to identify the key principles and cases which have shaped the development of environmental law and to critically analyse the law's effectiveness as a response to environmental concerns that include climate change, protection of the marine environment, protection of the polar regions, and biodiversity in Australia and in other part of the world. Students will gain a practical understanding of the way national and international institutions operate to influence the way the environment is protected, with a particular focus on the role of non-government organisations, transnational corporations, United Nations bodies and the Bretton Woods Institutions. Students will examine the law's operation in the context of current and emerging issues, developing their ability to think critically and present reasoned arguments in relation to contemporary problems in environmental law and policy.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Explain the principles of domestic and international environmental law; (GA5) 

LO2 - Locate the sources of state, federal and international law and case law related to the environment and apply the law to different fact scenarios (GA8) 

LO3 - Critique environmental law (GA4, GA5, GA6) and  

LO4 - Develop and communicate reasoned opinions about the meaning and effect of environmental law. (GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9) 

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include: 

  • Introduction to environmental law
  • Key concepts and principles in environmental law
  • Federal governance and Commonwealth/State relations
  • Planning and development controls
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Pollution control
  • Biodiversity
  • Climate law
  • Natural resources management: water law
  • First Nations and environmental management
  • Environmental conflict and the courts
  • The future of environmental law and governance

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Mode:Lectures, tutorials, electronic consultation, library tasks and presentations or Online lectures and activities.  


Duration:3 hours per week over 12 weeks or equivalent.  Students are expected to spend 150 hours in total for this unit. 


This level three elective unit allows students to demonstrate knowledge, skills and understanding in a specialist area of law applying knowledge, skills and understanding acquired in Priestley units.  


Our strategy is to encourage students to creatively engage with unit content and to apply prior learnings to new legal problems.  


The unit is designed to be delivered in intensive, weekly or online. We have taken a blended learning approach to provide accessibility and flexibility to our students and a student focused approach that increases depth of learning and engagement through actively utilising LEO.   

Assessment strategy and rationale

 The assessment strategy is designed to assess knowledge, skills and understanding in a specialist area of law, applying knowledge, skills and understanding acquired in Priestley units.  


The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each of the learning outcomes listed.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Research Essay  

This assessment is designed to develop critical and research skills, as well as knowledge in a specialist area of Environmental Law.  


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9 

Final Examination. 

The examination will assess your knowledge, skills and ability to address problems in Environmental law.  


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9 

Representative texts and references

Gerard Maxwell Bates, Environmental Law in Australia Butterworths (2013) 


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