• Class Number 4775
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • James Prest
    • James Prest
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

The course aims include to: 
• Guide and support students in identifying, developing and applying practical legal skills in environmental and planning law. 
• Develop students’ critical understanding of legal practice approaches, the role of lawyers in relation to individual clients and environmental law issues.
• Contextualise the study of law, particularly environmental law and student learning in the wide range of other law courses. 
• Encourage, promote and validate student aspirations to promote access to justice and equality before the law specifically in relation to community needs to exercise their rights pursuant to environmental law both at local and Federal levels. 
• Encourage students to critically consider the effect of the law and its ability: 
a) to deliver improved environmental outcomes and 
b) to provide adequate recourse for the community to be heard on public interest environmental issues. 
The course provides clinical placement at the EDO ACT for between 8-10 students each semester. Attendance requirements include an orientation workshop, onsite participation at the EDO office one day a week, participation in weekly tutorials (reviewing relevant substantive areas of law and legal and social issues relating to the environmental law (ACT and Federal) and marked assessment pieces. 
Assessment requirements: onsite assessment, tutorial participation and preparation & presentation of a written project or seminar/forum. 

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. describe and critique how advanced knowledge and skills acquired through the study of law relate to a legal practice setting, assisting individual clients and working for social justice,
  2. reflect on their personal motivation for studying law, their goals and career aspirations,
  3. apply a reflective and ethical approach in combination with a broad theoretical and professional knowledge, in performing paralegal tasks,
  4. recognise and apply improved practical legal skills particularly relating to work routines, communication with a variety of audiences, interviewing, writing, and legal research principles and methods,
  5. summarise and apply an advanced and coherent body of substantive legal knowledge about environmental justice, and knowledge of professional conduct rules and ethical practice,
  6. describe and distinguish a variety of justice issues with respect to community engagement with environmental law, and to critically analyse entrenched issues of injustice in the legal system,
  7. note, name and debate their enhanced interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence and self-awareness of their own cognitive abilities and values,
  8. describe and critique a range of legal practice approaches having regard to the legal needs of individual and group clients,
  9. analyse the predicament of individual and group clients having regard to the operation of the law and the legal system, 10. describe and critically assess a range of strategies to improve justice / social justice outcomes, 1
  10. identify and evaluate concrete and achievable ways in which they can promote access to justice and equality before the law, 1
  11. plan and execute a written research project, with some independence.

Research-Led Teaching

Students will be encouraged to devise a research project related to environmental protection priorities and pressing environmental law issues as identified by the Course Convenor, the EDO clinic solicitors and students. Some of the priority topics for research will be identified based on environmental law research being conducted at the ANU College of Law.

Field Trips

Field trip to Sydney to visit NSW Land and Environment Court and NSW law firms practising in environmental law is usually offered over 1-2 days during the mid Semester break.

Taylor, C. (ed.) ACT Environmental Law Handbook, (3rd edition, ACT Environmental Defender's Office, 2015).

Ross Hyams, Susan Campbell and Adrian Evans, Practical Legal Skills, 4th Edition, (Oxford University Press, 2014). (Purchase not required)

Bates, Gerry, Environmental Law in Australia, Lexis Nexis, (9th edition, 2016). (Purchase not required, but recommended)

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

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), the 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 and updates relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 ANU Week 1 / Clinical Week 1 a) Onsite b) Workshop - Orientation to course objectives + skills, routines; EDOs in Australia - history & mission; EDOs role and services.
2 ANU Week 2 / Clinical Week 2 a) Onsite b) Workshop - Planning Appeals in the ACT
3 ANU Week 3 / Clinical Week 3 a) Onsite b) Workshop - ACT Environmental Law
4 ANU Week 4 / Clinical Week 4 a) Onsite b) Workshop -Administrative Appeals in the ACT
5 ANU Week 5 / Clinical Week 5 a) Onsite b) Workshop - International Environmental Law
6 ANU Week 6 / Clinical Week 6 a) Onsite b) Workshop - Climate Law
7 ANU Break / Clinical Week 7 a) Onsite b) Workshop -Optional NSW Land & Environment Court visit
8 ANU Break / Clinical Week 8 Onsite
9 ANU Week 7 / Clinical Week 9 a) Onsite b) Workshop -Environmental Policy-Making: TBC + Coordination & reflection
10 ANU Week 8 / Clinical Week 10 a) Onsite b) Workshop -Biodiversity & EPBC Act: TBC +Coordination & reflection
11 ANU Week 9 / Clinical Week 11 a) Onsite Coordination & reflection
12 ANU Week 10 / Clinical Week 12 a) Onsite b) Student presentations on research projects
13 ANU Week 11 / Clinical Week 13 a) Onsite b) Coordination & reflection
14 ANU Week 12 / Clinical Week 14 a) Onsite b) Coordination and reflection

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
On-Site Attendance and Participation 25 % 30/05/2019 26/06/2019 3, 4, 5, 6, 9
Seminar Participation 10 % 28/05/2019 26/06/2019 1, 2, 7, 8, 9
Oral presentation of research paper 0 % 28/05/2019 26/06/2019 3, 4, 5, 6, 9
Research Project - written paper 40 % 30/05/2019 26/06/2019 5, 6, 10, 11, 12
Reflective Journal 25 % 17/05/2019 26/06/2019 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

* 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.


Attendance requirements include an orientation workshop, onsite participation at the EDO office one day a week, participation in weekly seminars (reviewing relevant substantive areas of law and issues relating to the environmental law (ACT and Federal) and marked assessment pieces. A non-assessable, optional field trip to NSW environmental law sites in Sydney may be made in the mid semester break, students will need to make their own travel arrangements.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 30/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 26/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 3, 4, 5, 6, 9

On-Site Attendance and Participation

Details of Task: On-site Attendance and Participation.

Nature of Task: Compulsory. Failure to attend the prescribed number of onsite sessions at the Environmental Law Clinic, without an exemption based on special circumstances, will result in a penalty of 5% per onsite day missed being deducted from the final onsite mark.

Weighting: 25%

Release Date: Ongoing assessment from 25 February 2019.

Due Date: Ongoing assessment until 30 May 2019

Estimated return date: Students will be asked to attend a brief mid-Semester feedback interview (during Week 6) with the Clinic Solicitor and the Course Convenor, at which feedback on this assessment item will be provided. Feedback on the final result for the task will be provided at course completion via Wattle.

Assessment Criteria: Onsite participation will be assessed using the Onsite Checklist. The mark will be based on overall assessment by the Onsite Convenor of the student’s participation on-site, in consultation with the Course Convenor. The indicators of good practice are not weighted and will not be marked individually.

The Indicators of good practice, tailored to onsite work at the Environmental Defender's Office (A.C.T.) in the light of course objectives, are listed below.

  1. Office approach: Office procedures, phone answering & information gathering including file management        
  2. Contribution to client interviews  including pre-interview preparation                           
  3. Approach to client matters – planning and strategy, analysis of client issues and identification of relevant law/next steps.  
  4. Conducting follow-up client work including problem solving skills - analysis of options/actions required, research skills e.g. initiative, efficiency, thoroughness
  5. Non-client work including law reform work as assigned by the solicitors: effort, relevance, efficiency and quality of work carried out;
  6. Law reform work - Initiative with designated tasks - including appropriate balance between the need for initiative against other limitations 
  7. Legal practice standards &approach e.g. Adherence to onsite policy & procedures
  8. Work relationships including team approach with solicitors, other students, and stakeholders

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 28/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 26/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 7, 8, 9

Seminar Participation

Details of Task: Students must participate in weekly seminars held at the Clinic, including a longer orientation seminar and closing seminar.

Nature of Task: This task is compulsory. Failure to participate in the expected minimum of 10 of 12 seminars, will result in a 0 for this component of the course.

Weighting: 10%

Release Date: Ongoing assessment from 25 February 2019

Due Date: Ongoing assessment until 28 May 2019

Estimated Return Date: At course completion via Wattle.

Assessment Criteria: Seminar participation will be rated on the extent to which the student demonstrates genuine engagement with, and critical reflection on the seminar content including contributing examples / insights from the student’s onsite experience and skills development. Seminar participation is assessed using the following criteria:

  • Questions asked, comments made during seminar presentations indicative of prior preparation and reading before class.
  • Communication of ability to identify, prioritise and show some knowledge of the legal issues (e.g. environmental law, planning law, procedural law, statutory interpretation) involved in a matter or topic under discussion;
  • Accuracy and thoroughness in reporting on clients seen on their rostered days;
  • How well they explain what the legal issues were in a client’s matter & what advice etc. the solicitor gave;
  • Can they comment on the solicitor's handling of the client’s matter?
  • Did they report on any non-legal issues involved e.g. practical difficulties involved in a matter;
  •  Do they make any links from the reading, other seminars, other experiences in the course that relate to the discussion
  • Can they see one client’s experience with the legal system as perhaps raising systemic problems or wider issues?
  • Do they listen to other students, and build on, or carry the discussion further?

Assessment Task 3

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 28/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 26/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 3, 4, 5, 6, 9

Oral presentation of research paper

Details of Task: At the conclusion of the course, students are asked to present their research reports to the group at the final seminar of the course.

Nature of Task: Compulsory. Failure to give an oral presentation will mean that students miss the opportunity to receive feedback on their research projects.

Weighting: 0%

Release: N/A

Due Date: Tuesday 28 May 2019. Late submissions (without an extension) will not be accepted.

Timing: Presentations are approximately 20 minutes including time for discussion.

Estimated return date: Feedback will be provided immediately after the presentation by the Convenor as part of the in-class discussion.

Assessment Criteria:

  • Effectiveness of Structure of Oral Presentation
  • Clarity of Oral Presentation;
  • Accuracy and relevance of content in the presentation;
  • Effective use of visual aids in presentation (or effective decision not to use visual aids).

Assessment Task 4

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 30/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 26/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 5, 6, 10, 11, 12

Research Project - written paper

Details of Task:  The research project paper will provide students with an opportunity to explore a topic in environmental law in some depth. The research project must relate to legal services for individuals and community groups in the ACT and/or Australia with respect to an environmental matter, an environmental justice issue, or the role of the clinic in contributing to EDO’s aims and objectives. It should demonstrate independent research efforts involving a variety of sources beyond those provided on Wattle. It is a research paper not just an essay. The research project and the student’s intended work plan must be negotiated with and approved by the Course Convenor in order to ensure relevance to the work of the Environmental law clinic.

Some of the seminar discussion will also focus on student research projects i.e. progress, problem solving and brainstorming. The research projects involve the aspects listed below, all of which may be relevant for reflection and discussion:

  • establishing a credible rationale
  • identifying issues
  • identifying key points of leverage
  • planning
  • time management and disciplined research
  • reasoning
  • writing targeted to the intended audience, and
  • effective oral presentation.

Nature of Task: Compulsory. Failure to submit a research paper will mean a 0 for this assessment task.

Weighting: 40%

Release: Students can begin working on their research project from the first week of the Clinic.

Due Date: 5pm Thursday 30 May 2019 via Turnitin. Late submissions (without an extension) are permitted, although late penalties will apply.

Word Limit: 2000 words

Estimated return date: 26 June 2019 via Turnitin.

Assessment Criteria: Research projects are assessed using the following criteria

  • Breadth and depth of legal and non-legal research relevant to the topic within the field of environmental and/or land use planning law
  • Quality of legal analysis and reasoning
  • Quality of practical recommendations or resources produced
  • Effectiveness of structure of paper
  • Clarity of expression in paper
  • Typographical accuracy
  • Correct use of citations and bibliography
  • Relevance of the project to the work and objectives of Environmental Defender’s Office ACT and/or other environmental law offices based on discussions with solicitors and academic staff

Assessment Task 5

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 17/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 26/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Reflective Journal

Details of Task: Students are to upload a Reflective Reading Journal, which is based on their online postings, to a TurnitIn Drop Box on Wattle. The work submitted online in the form of a reflective reading journal should draw upon your contributions to the Wattle discussion forums. (In other words, it is to be expected that the journal submitted may repeat your online Wattle postings in part). Ideally it should draw these together, using sub-headings if you choose, into a coherent reflection on your learning insights throughout the course.

Nature of Task: Compulsory. Failure to submit a Reflective Journal will mean a 0 for this assessment task.

Weighting: 25%

Release: Students are expected to begin working on their reflective journal from the first week of the Clinic. Students can make non-assessed posts to Wattle forums as a preparatory task.

Due Date: 5pm Friday 17 May 2019 via Turnitin. Late submissions (without an extension) are permitted, although late penalties will apply.

Word Limit: 1000 words (based on final work uploaded, not the length of online posts made).

Estimated return date: 26 June 2019 via Wattle.

Assessment Criteria:

  • Ability to critically reflect on highly relevant incidents and issues from your placement experience
  • Ability to make perceptive observations of clinical situations and the environmental law problems that they raise
  • Ability to relate and connect in-clinic situations with other legal knowledge and information
  • Ability to explain issues by reference to relevant legal sources and other relevant information
  • Level of logic, insight and focus in analysis of the legal and non-legal issues involved
  • Ability to communicate clearly and concisely in writing
  • Referencing of relevant sources
  • Whether the student made relevant (non-assessed) posts to the Wattle online learning system throughout the course, as preparation for submission of selected and edited material in a final journal.

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

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).

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