• Class Number 6740
  • Term Code 2950
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Timothy Bonyhady
    • Dr Paul Cleary
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 01/07/2019
  • Class End Date 30/09/2019
  • Census Date 19/07/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 19/07/2019
SELT Survey Results

This course provides an overview of topics within domestic Australian environmental protection law. Environmental Law is the complex, sometimes connected, and sometimes disparate collection of treaties, conventions, statutes, regulations, and case law which involve questions of the interactions of humans with the natural environment. More modern conceptions of environmental law see its purpose as encouraging long-term ecological sustainability, rather than merely providing rules for orderly exploitation of natural resources.

The course critically examines the institutional arrangements and legal principles that underpin the practice of environmental and planning law.The course examines environmental law from both theoretical and practical perspectives, taking a broad national and thematic approach. Whilst it places particular emphasis on the applicable Commonwealth, NSW and ACT law, the course reviews fundamental concepts, useful tools and insights with which to understand and critically analyse environmental law.

 Topics covered include:

  • introduction defining the 'environment', 'ecologically sustainable development';
  • the common law and environmental protection;
  • environmental law in a federal system;
  • role of local and state governments;
  • statutory land-use planning and development control law;
  • evironmental impact assessment law;
  • bodiversity law;
  • native vegetation law;
  • pollution control law;
  • a brief introduction to climate change and energy law;
  • environmental litigation;
  • enforcement of environmental law; and
  • major projects law.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. demonstrate a broad (and at times advanced) knowledge of key principles, legal doctrine and legal regimes relevant to Australian environmental law, and communicate this knowledge to a variety of audiences in a clear and coherent manner;
  2. conduct independent research into primary and secondary materials on an Australian environmental law problem;
  3. identify relevant (Australian) state and/or federal environmental law and, using intellectual initiative and judgment, explain how the relevant law is applicable, with reference to a particular environmental law issue/problem
  4. analyse and critically evaluate secondary materials and commentary on Australian environmental law and policy.
  5. demonstrate a broad understanding of fundamental principles of environmental law and awareness of environmental law in context terminology, rationale, theories and approaches of Australian environmental law;
  6. critically analyse the role and implications of environmental law within the context of wider perspectives in order to develop new understanding from perspectives

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Written response to proposed essay topic if student opts to develop a topic of her or his own choice
  • Evaluation of student work as discussant on wattle and in class
  • Annotations of research essay through the essay text and general comments

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Extensions late submission and penalties - https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/extensions-late-submission-and-penalties

Deferred examination: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/deferred-examinations

Special consideration: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/special-assessment-consideration

Penalties for excess word length: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/word-length-and-excess-word-penalties

Distribution of Grades Policy: Effective from Winter Session and Second Semester 2018 (and until further notice), an interim scaling guideline applies to all courses in the LLB (Hons) and JD programs. Please see: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/grading

Further Information about the Course: is available from the course WATTLE page. Students are required to access the WATTLE site regularly throughout the course for details on weekly classes and any announcements relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction The Origins and Growth of Environmental Law
2 The Origins and Growth of Environmental Law The Power of the Commonwealth and the States Introduction to EPBC Act (Cth law)
3 Introduction to EPBC Act (Cth law) Overview of Planning Policy/Legislation The Enforcement of Environmental Law Regulation and the Market Environmental Law, Mining and Indigenous Rights
4 Environmental Law, Mining and Indigenous Rights The Role of the Common Law and the Courts
5 Property Rights and Property Obligations Land Tenure/Natural Resources
6 Land tenure/natural resources continued. The Role of the Public The Operation of Environmental Law

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Research Topic Proposal (Optional) 0 % 03/07/2019 05/07/2019 1
Discussant Role 10 % 09/07/2019 23/07/2019 1
Wattle Post 10 % 09/07/2019 23/07/2019 1
Research Essay 80 % 05/08/2019 02/09/2019 1-6
Attendance Requirement 0 % 09/07/2019 09/07/2019 1-6

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 03/07/2019
Return of Assessment: 05/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1

Research Topic Proposal (Optional)

Brief Description: Students will select their own research topic for the Research Paper. Students can, but are not required to, discuss their topics with the lecturers before submission. The discussion should be initiated by email, which may be followed up with a meeting. Students are welcome to email their research topic proposals to the lecturers for comment.

Nature of task: Optional. This task is optional, and it has no impact on the final mark for the course. Failure to complete the task by the due date will only result in students not receiving feedback before the mid-point in the course.

Weighting: 0%

Due date: Wednesday 3 July 2019 at 12 pm via Wattle. Students can also email their research topic proposals to the lecturers after 3 July. The lecturer will continue to be available for consultation, by email and in person, up till the submission date for the Research Paper. 

Estimated return date: Where submitted by the due date, the lecturer will reply with comments by the end of Friday 5 July 2019. 

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 09/07/2019
Return of Assessment: 23/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1

Discussant Role

Brief Description: Each student will be allocated as a discussant for one session. The allocation will be done alphabetically, based on the student’s last name. 

Nature of task: Compulsory. The consequence of non-completion will be a “0” mark for this part of the course.

Due date: According to the schedule. If you are unable to attend your nominated session, you will be allocated the role of discussant on another day. The allocation to another day will only be allowed in cases of documented medical illness and exceptional circumstances or misadventure. Holiday, travel and work commitments will not be accepted.

Weighting: 10%

Estimated return date: Week beginning 23 July 2019 via Services Office.

Assessment Criteria: The discussion in class should be informed by the readings, and, insofar as there have been other contributions from the class, engage with what others have said.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 09/07/2019
Return of Assessment: 23/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1

Wattle Post

Brief Description: Each student will be required to make a wattle post for one session (which will be the same as that for which the the student is the discussant). The allocation will be done alphabetically, based on the student’s last name. As part of that role, the discussant will be required to make a post on the Wattle forum the day before the session. The Wattle post should be a reflection on the prescribed readings. 

Nature of task: Compulsory. The consequence of non-completion will be a “0” mark for this part of the course.

Due date: According to the schedule. . If you are unable to do your wattle post when required, you will be allocated a wattle post on another day. The allocation to another day will only be allowed in cases of documented medical illness and exceptional circumstances or misadventure. Holiday, travel and work commitments will not be accepted.

Word limit: 200 words

Weighting: 10%

Estimated return date: Week beginning 23 July 2019 via Services Office.

Assessment Criteria: The Wattle post before class should demonstrate a thoughtful reflection on the prescribed readings.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 80 %
Due Date: 05/08/2019
Return of Assessment: 02/09/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1-6

Research Essay

Brief Description: The research essay has to be an academic essay with a well-defined thesis and argument. The lecturer will release a set of essay questions on the final day of lectures. Students will also have the option of doing a topic of their own choosing, relating to the subject matter of the course, with the lecturer's approval.

Nature of task: Compulsory. The consequence of non-completion will be a “0” mark for this part of the course.

Weighting: 80%

Release: The research essay questions plus rubric and any other relevant information will be released at the conclusion of the final day of classes, Tuesday, 9 July. This document will be posted on Wattle. Students can also select their own research topic, with the lecture's permission.

Due date: Monday 5 August 2019 at 12 pm via Turnitin. Late submissions (ie without an extension) will be accepted, although late penalties will apply.

Word limit: 3000 words.

Estimated return date: Approximately Monday 2 September 2019 via Turnitin.

Assessment Criteria:

  1. Clear explanation of what the paper is attempting to accomplish
  2. Depth of research;
  3. Ability to critically evaluate materials
  4. Quality and precision of arguments
  5. Quality of expression and correctness of grammar
  6. Appropriate referencing. 

Assessment Task 5

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 09/07/2019
Return of Assessment: 09/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1-6

Attendance Requirement

Brief description: Students are required to attend 75% of the lectures in the course.

Nature: Failure to satisfy this requirement will result in a penalty of 5% of the total marks for the course.

Due date: Ongoing. If you are unable to attend a lecture due to exceptional circumstance, please provide documented evidence of the circumstance, illness or misadventure to the convener as soon as possible. Holiday, travel and work commitments will not be accepted.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

No submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date will be permitted. If an assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded.


Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Prof Timothy Bonyhady

Research Interests

Environmental law, environmental history, cultural history

Prof Timothy Bonyhady

Monday 10:00 12:00
Dr Paul Cleary

Research Interests

Dr Paul Cleary

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions