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LAWS13-549: Environmental Law May 2017 [Standard]

General information

Environmental Law is an elective subject in undergraduate programs offered by the Faculty of Law. Students enrolled in this subject will learn about local, State and Commonwealth laws that regulate activities with potential impacts on the environment. Students will workshop the statutory process for securing approvals for those activities. Students will also learn about the avenues for challenging decisions and about the mechanisms for enforcing environmental obligations. Study of the law will be complemented by examination of the ethical, scientific, economic, political and social contexts of environmental policy. Upon completion of the subject, students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of environmental law and their ability to engage in legal reasoning by discussing and solving complex legal problems.


Academic unit:Faculty of Law
Subject code:LAWS13-549
Subject title:Environmental Law
Subject level:Undergraduate
Semester/Year:May 2017
Credit points:10

Delivery & attendance

Delivery mode:


Workload items:
  • Seminar: x12 (Total hours: 24) - Seminar 1
  • Seminar: x11 (Total hours: 11) - Seminar 2
Attendance and learning activities: You should attend all classes. Most classes build on the work of the previous one, and it may be difficult for you to recovery if you miss a class. Practical research skills in this area, including use of databases and mapping interpretation will be covered in class and will need to be used to answer tutorials and the final exam. Attendance in tutorials will be monitored, and missing tutorials will have an impact on your final mark in this subject.


Prescribed resources: No Prescribed resources. After enrolment, students can check the Books and Tools area in iLearn for the full Resource List.
[email protected] & Email:[email protected] is the online learning environment at Bond University and is used to provide access to subject materials, lecture recordings and detailed subject information regarding the subject curriculum, assessment and timing. Both iLearn and the Student Email facility are used to provide important subject notifications. Additionally, official correspondence from the University will be forwarded to students’ Bond email account and must be monitored by the student.

To access these services, log on to the Student Portal from the Bond University website as

Enrolment requirements

Requisites: ?

Pre-requisites: ?

Co-requisites: ?

There are no co-requisites.

Restrictions: ?

This subject is not available as a general elective. To be eligible for enrolment, the subject must be specified in the students’ program structure.

Assurance of learning

Assurance of Learning means that universities take responsibility for creating, monitoring and updating curriculum, teaching and assessment so that students graduate with the knowledge, skills and attributes they need for employability and/or further study.

At Bond University, we carefully develop subject and program outcomes to ensure that student learning in each subject contributes to the whole student experience. Students are encouraged to carefully read and consider subject and program outcomes as combined elements.

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

Program Learning Outcomes provide a broad and measurable set of standards that incorporate a range of knowledge and skills that will be achieved on completion of the program. If you are undertaking this subject as part of a degree program, you should refer to the relevant degree program outcomes and graduate attributes as they relate to this subject.

Find your program

Subject Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject the learner will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the key concepts and themes in environmental law and an appreciation of the ethical, scientific, economic, political and social contexts of environmental law and policy.
  2. Appreciate the contribution and limitations of the common law and the influence of property rights in environmental protection.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the division of power and responsibilities for environmental matters between Commonwealth, State and local governments, and an appreciation of key international environmental issues.
  4. Appreciate the range of regulatory, voluntary and incentive based mechanisms for managing environmental harm and activities impacting on the environment.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the statutory processes for securing environmental approvals for projects.
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of the avenues for challenging environmental decision-making, and administrative, civil and criminal mechanisms in enforcing environmental obligations.


Assessment details

TypeTask%Timing*Outcomes assessed
*Class Participation Tutorial performance (week 2 - week 12 inclusive) 20% Ongoing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Computer-aided Test (Closed) Mid-semester test (in class) covering content from Weeks 1-5 inclusive 30% Week 6 1, 2, 3, 4.
Take-home Examination Take-Home Exam covering all subject content at the end of week 12 (32 hours) 50% Non-Standard Examination Period 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
  • * Assessment timing is indicative of the week that the assessment is due or begins (where conducted over multiple weeks), and is based on the standard University academic calendar
  • C = Students must reach a level of competency to successfully complete this assessment.

Assessment criteria

High Distinction 85-100 Outstanding or exemplary performance in the following areas: interpretative ability; intellectual initiative in response to questions; mastery of the skills required by the subject, general levels of knowledge and analytic ability or clear thinking.
Distinction 75-84 Usually awarded to students whose performance goes well beyond the minimum requirements set for tasks required in assessment, and who perform well in most of the above areas.
Credit 65-74 Usually awarded to students whose performance is considered to go beyond the minimum requirements for work set for assessment. Assessable work is typically characterised by a strong performance in some of the capacities listed above.
Pass 50-64 Usually awarded to students whose performance meets the requirements set for work provided for assessment.
Fail 0-49 Usually awarded to students whose performance is not considered to meet the minimum requirements set for particular tasks. The fail grade may be a result of insufficient preparation, of inattention to assignment guidelines or lack of academic ability. A frequent cause of failure is lack of attention to subject or assignment guidelines.

Quality assurance

For the purposes of quality assurance, Bond University conducts an evaluation process to measure and document student assessment as evidence of the extent to which program and subject learning outcomes are achieved. Some examples of student work will be retained for potential research and quality auditing purposes only. Any student work used will be treated confidentially and no student grades will be affected.

Study information

Submission procedures

Students must check the [email protected] subject site for detailed assessment information and submission procedures.

Policy on late submission and extensions

A late penalty will be applied to all overdue assessment tasks unless an extension is granted by the subject coordinator. The standard penalty will be 10% of marks awarded to that assessment per day late with no assessment to be accepted seven days after the due date. Where a student is granted an extension, the penalty of 10% per day late starts from the new due date.

Policy on plagiarism

University’s Academic Integrity Policy defines plagiarism as the act of misrepresenting as one’s own original work: another’s ideas, interpretations, words, or creative works; and/or one’s own previous ideas, interpretations, words, or creative work without acknowledging that it was used previously (i.e., self-plagiarism). The University considers the act of plagiarising to be a breach of the Student Conduct Code and, therefore, subject to the Discipline Regulations which provide for a range of penalties including the reduction of marks or grades, fines and suspension from the University.

Bond University utilises Originality Reporting software to inform academic integrity.

Feedback on assessment

Feedback on assessment will be provided to students within two weeks of the assessment submission due date, as per the Assessment Policy.

Accessibility and Inclusion Support

If you have a disability, illness, injury or health condition that impacts your capacity to complete studies, exams or assessment tasks, it is important you let us know your special requirements, early in the semester. Students will need to make an application for support and submit it with recent, comprehensive documentation at an appointment with a Disability Officer. Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Office at the earliest possible time, to meet staff and learn about the services available to meet your specific needs. Please note that late notification or failure to disclose your disability can be to your disadvantage as the University cannot guarantee support under such circumstances.

Additional subject information

Environmental Law is a highly practical, hands-on subject, taught with the insight of a MinterEllison Partner advising government and corporate clients. From this perspective, you will learn about the operational and regulatory requirements facing industry, developers and other businesses who undertake activities that might impact on the environment; the process for obtaining environmental approval for major infrastructure projects; challenging decision, regulatory compliance action and litigation; and environmental policy and international environmental law.

Subject curriculum

The curriculum covers the key aspects of the practice of environmental law, with a key focus on how it is applied when advising corporate/commercial clients. It is a highly practical, hands-on subject. Because of the breadth of environmental law regulation in Australia across three levels of government, the subject covers a number of pieces of legislation.

• Subject overview • Philosophical and scientific foundations • Content and scope of environmental law • Statutory definitions of ‘environment’


• Contribution and limitations of the common law • Influence of property rights


Distribution of responsibilities and legislative powers as between Federal, State and local governments

• Regulation of environmental harm • Licensing of activities/industry • Transactions involving contaminated land


• Principles of ecologically sustainable development • Regulation for protected areas and species • Approvals required to clear native vegetation

4, 5.

Mid-semester test (in class)

1, 2, 3, 4.

The statutory environmental impact assessment process for assessment and approval of major projects/activities


The statutory environmental impact assessment process for assessment and approval of major projects/activities


• Challenging environmental decision-making: merits appeals and judicial review • Civil and criminal enforcement by regulators and third parties


Obligations and expectations of corporate and other business entities in relation to environmental performance, reporting and marketing


Introduction/overview of various international environmental law issues


The final class will be a course review, reviewing key concepts from each week. A past exam paper will be issued in week 11 for the week 12 tutorial component, for revision and preparation for the final exam.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Approved on: Mar 16, 2017. Edition: 1.1
Last updated: Apr 27, 2017.