Courses & Units

Current Issues in Environmental Law and Policy LAW195



This unit explores the legal and policy context in which some of Australia's most challenging environmental controversies arise. It introduces students to the broad framework for environmental regulation, decision-making and dispute resolution, using a range of topical issues and case studies. In 2021, these case studies will include the “Black Summer” bushfires, Rio Tinto’s destruction of the Juukan Gorge caves in Western Australia, protecting the Great Barrier Reef and the Adani Carmichael coal mine. Closer to home, we’ll consider fish farming in Tasmania and commercial tourism in national parks.

Using these and other issues as a lens, we will draw out common themes and challenges in environmental governance, including:
• how practical and effective the principles of ecologically sustainable development as a basis for environmental protection in Australia;
• Divisions of power between the Commonwealth and State governments and issues of regulatory fragmentation;
• the importance of public participation in environmental decision-making;
• Issues with compliance, enforcement and the overall efficacy of our laws; and
• the role of the market in environmental regulation.


Unit name Current Issues in Environmental Law and Policy
Unit code LAW195
Credit points 12.5
College/School College of Arts, Law and Education
Faculty of Law
Discipline Law
Coordinator Professor Janet (Jan) McDonald
Available as student elective? Yes
Delivered By Delivered wholly by the provider


Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Hobart Semester 1 On-Campus Off-Campus International International Domestic Domestic


International students
Domestic students

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Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Semester 1 22/2/2021 23/3/2021 12/4/2021 30/5/2021

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (see withdrawal dates explained for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2021 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2021 will be available from the 1st October 2020. Note census date cutoff is 11.59pm AEST (AEDT during October to March).

About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  • Describe and explain understanding of the division of powers over environmental matters between local, state, and Commonwealth governments, and the role of international bodies.
  • Critically reflect on the range of social, political, ethical, economic and ecological factors that influence environmental law, policy, and decision-making.
  • Critique the value and application of the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) in the context of the disputes and case studies discussed in the course.
  • Communicate effectively orally and in writing.
Field of Education Commencing Student Contribution 1 Grandfathered Student Contribution 1 Approved Pathway Course Student Contribution 2 Domestic Full Fee
050999 $993.00 $993.00 not applicable $2,783.00
  • Available as a Commonwealth Supported Place
  • HECS-HELP is available on this unit, depending on your eligibility3
  • FEE-HELP is available on this unit, depending on your eligibility4

1 Please refer here more information on student contribution amounts.
2 Information on eligibility and Approved Pathway courses can be found here
3 Please refer here for eligibility for HECS-HELP
4 Please refer here for eligibility for FEE-HELP

If you have any questions in relation to the fees, please contact UConnect or more information is available on StudyAssist.

Please note: international students should refer to this page to get an indicative course cost.


Mutual Exclusions

You cannot enrol in this unit as well as the following:



AssessmentExamination - take home (40%)|Test or quiz (20%)|Presentation (40%)
TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



Required readings will be listed in the unit outline prior to the start of classes.

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