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This foundational environmental law unit provides the core of UTAS's environmental law program. The unit caters both to students seeking a concise introduction to the subject-matter, as part of a well-rounded legal education for professional practice, as well as students seeking to specialise in this growing and substantial area of law, for which Environmental Law (LAW641) provides the starting point.

The unit introduces the principal components of Australian (federal) environmental regulation and policy, with some consideration of equivalent state regimes (mainly Tasmania). The unit is structured around several key themes: why does environmental law exist (ie, what problems does it respond to and what ideas shape that response); the actors (the "who") of environmental law, notably states, NGOs and Aboriginal peoples; the sources (the "where") of environmental law, spanning the common law, public legislation and international law; and the tools (the "how") of environmental law, such as command-and-control and economic instruments. The course concludes with two case studies, on climate change law and biodiversity conservation law, which offer more in-depth analysis of the main themes of the syllabus. Major issues in environmental law and policy are brought to life in the classroom via videos, role-plays, lively discussion, negotiation exercises and scenarios drawn from topical environmental controversies.

Summary 2020

Unit name Environmental Law
Unit code LAW641
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School College of Arts, Law and Education
Faculty of Law
Discipline Law

Prof. Benjamin Richardson

Teaching staff

Prof. Benjamin Richardson

Level Advanced
Available as student elective? Yes
Breadth Unit? No



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About Census Dates




Completion of 150% of university study (12 x 12.5cp units)


Teaching Pattern

1 x two-hour lecture per week, plus 1 x one-hour tutorial every second week.


Class participation (20%), coursework (30%), final exam (50%).

TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable




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