• Class Number 4210
  • Term Code 3130
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • James Prest
    • James Prest
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/02/2021
  • Class End Date 28/05/2021
  • Census Date 31/03/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/03/2021
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. 

Students must apply to undertake this course. Please go to Law Professional Experience for application information.


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. Identify and evaluate concrete and achievable ways in which they can promote access to justice and equality before the law,
  11. Plan and execute a written research project, with some independence.
  12. Describe and critically assess a range of strategies to improve justice / social justice outcomes,

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, in combination with the EDO clinic solicitors. Some of the priority topics for research will be identified based on environmental law research being conducted at the ANU College of Law.

Some of the class 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.

Field Trips

An optional field trip to Sydney to visit the NSW Land and Environment Court and law firms practising in environmental law is sometimes offered over 1-2 days of the mid Semester break. An announcement about this activity will be made on the course Wattle site by Week 3.

Required Resources

Gerry Bates, Environmental Law in Australia, (Lexis Nexis, 10th ed, 2019).

Camilla Taylor, ACT Environmental Law Handbook, (ACT Environmental Defender's Office, 3rd ed, 2015). (available online from the EDO site)

Ross Hyams, Susan Campbell and Adrian Evans, Practical Legal Skills: Developing Your Clinical Technique, (Oxford University Press, 4th Ed, 2014).

K.Lauchland, M. Le Brun, Legal Interviewing - A How to Guide, Lexis Nexis, 2014.

G. Dal Pont, Lawyers' Professional Responsibility, 6th ed., 2016, Lawbook Co.

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 relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 ANU Week 1 / Clinical Week 1 a) Orientation Workshop overview of course law practice risk management applicable law regulating conduct of legal practitioners overview of key skills to develop client management file management Introduction to the Environmental Defender’s Office (EDO) history & mission; role and services including casework guidelines. overview of types of work in the environmental law office
2 ANU Week 2 / Clinical Week 2 a) Virtual clinic attendance b) Seminar - Introduction to Environmental and Planning Law
3 ANU Week 3 / Clinical Week 3 a) Virtual clinic attendance b) Seminar - ACT Land Use Planning Law
4 ANU Week 4 / Clinical Week 4 a) Virtual clinic attendance b) Seminar -Administrative Appeals in ACT Planning and Development Law
5 ANU Week 5 / Clinical Week 5 a) Virtual clinic attendance b) Seminar- ACT Planning and Development Law (continued)
6 ANU Week 6 / Clinical Week 6 a) Virtual clinic attendance b) Seminar- Indigenous Heritage law
7 ANU Break / Clinical Week 7 a) Virtual clinic attendance(subject to confirmation, pending staffing) b) Field Trip - Optional NSW environmental law field trip - Land & Environment Court visit (subject to confirmation)
8 ANU Break / Clinical Week 8 Virtual clinic attendance (subject to confirmation, pending staffing)
9 ANU Week 7 / Clinical Week 9 a) Virtual clinic attendance b) Seminar - Environmental Impact Assessment law
10 ANU Week 8 / Clinical Week 10 a) Virtual clinic attendance b) Seminar - Environmental Law and Policy making in the ACT and Federal legislatures
11 ANU Week 9 / Clinical Week 11 a) Virtual clinic attendance b) Seminar - Federal environmental law with a focus on the EPBC Act's biodiversity provisions
12 ANU Week 10 / Clinical Week 12 a) Virtual clinic attendance b) Seminar - Climate Change/ Energy Law
13 ANU Week 11 / Clinical Week 13 a) Virtual clinic attendance b) Seminar- Selected topics in environmental law practice
14 ANU Week 12 / Clinical Week 14 a) Virtual clinic attendance b) Student presentations on research projects

Tutorial Registration

Students will need to sign up for one on-site ** clinic day per week during semester (*Either Thursday or Friday) in consultation with the Clinic solicitor, through the online sign up facility within the Course Wattle website. (There is no need to sign up for the weekly seminar.)

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Clinical Office Placement 30 % * 01/07/2021 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Research Project Presentation 10 % 25/05/2021 26/05/2021 3, 4, 5, 6, 9
Research Project 40 % 28/05/2021 01/07/2021 5, 6, 10, 11, 12
Reflective Journal 20 % 21/05/2021 03/06/2021 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Participation and attendance in Seminars and Orientation workshop 0 % * 01/07/2021 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 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 Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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/ online 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).


There are no examinations in this course.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Return of Assessment: 01/07/2021
Learning Outcomes: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Clinical Office Placement

Details of Task: This will be carried out mostly online but with allowance for in-person attendance if circumstances permit (details below). Depending on circumstances the placement component may be delivered partially on-site, at the Canberra Office of the EDO (Environmental Defender’s Office). Students will be rostered to work with different solicitors across the national network of environmental law offices of the EDO, at the discretion of the Clinic Solicitor (an employee of EDO) and the course convenor. Students will be expected to participate for one full day each week of the Semester at/for the Clinic. During each of those days, the student would carry out legal research and other related paralegal tasks to assist the solicitor and will also receive guidance from the solicitor about their research project (Assessment Task #3). Student work with the Clinic will be assessed at the end of Semester against the criteria outlined below. The Clinic solicitor(s) will assess student’s performance in relation to these tasks.

In order to complete the task, students must work one rostered day each week online with staff of the Environment Defender’s Office (based in offices across Australia) between Weeks 2 and 12 inclusive. Students must check in online by Zoom (or similar videoconferencing software) or telephone with their supervising EDO solicitor once per week, between Week 2 and Week 12 on a regular rostered day, at a time to be agreed with the solicitor. On each of those days, there is to be a minimum of a morning ‘check in’ and an afternoon ‘check in’ unless an alternative is negotiated in advance. Student attendance and participation with the supervising solicitors of the EDO Network will be recorded.

Format : Includes either remote working, or in person if the clinic reopens. Attendance and active participation is expected.

Nature of Task: Compulsory. Failure to fully complete the prescribed rostered work with Clinic solicitors (11 out of 12 days) in the environmental law network without an exemption based on special circumstances, will result in an NCN grade for the course.

Weighting: 30%

Word Limit: NA, Referencing requirements: NA;

Release Date: N/a

Due Date: Ongoing assessment until end of Week 12, (i.e. Friday 28 May 2021).

Students who are unable to attend on a particular day due to illness or special circumstances should advise the EDO Coordinating Solicitor and Course Convenor. This should be in advance where possible or where that is not possible, then as soon as is reasonably practicable. Students who miss an on-site day because of illness, misadventure, or public holiday are required to make up that day. The student in these circumstances will need to negotiate this with their supervising solicitor.

Estimated return date: Interim Feedback will be provided when students attend a brief mid-Semester feedback interview (during Week 6 or 7) with the Clinic Solicitor and the Course Convenor, during which feedback on this assessment item will be provided. Formative feedback will be provided at an end-course interview in Semester week 11 and 12. The final mark will be provided at course completion via Wattle by 1 July 2021.

Assessment Criteria: Onsite (and virtual clinic) participation will be assessed using the Onsite Checklist. The mark will be based on overall assessment by the Clinic Solicitor (i.e. supervising legal practitioner) 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. Indicators of good practice, tailored to onsite work with the Environmental Defender's Office network in the light of course objectives, are listed below. These are grouped under the following headings:

  • Office approach: Office procedures, phone answering & information gathering including file management;
  • Contribution to client interviews including pre-interview preparation;
  • Approach to client matters – planning and strategy, analysis of client issues and identification of relevant law/next steps.  
  • Conducting follow-up client work including problem-solving skills - analysis of options/actions required, research skills e.g. initiative, efficiency, thoroughness
  • Non-client work including law reform work as assigned by the solicitors: effort, relevance, efficiency and quality of work carried out;
  • Legal research (ability to find, understand and summarise relevant statutes, delegated/subordinate legislation, planning instruments, case law and policy documents);
  • Law reform work - Initiative with designated tasks - including appropriate balance between the need for initiative against other limitations 
  • Legal practice ethics and professional standards – understanding of ethical and professional standards issues in legal practice, including legislation governing conduct of legal practitioners;
  • Legal practice approach e.g. Adherence to office policy & procedures;
  • Work relationships including team approach with solicitors, other students, and stakeholders.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 25/05/2021
Return of Assessment: 26/05/2021
Learning Outcomes: 3, 4, 5, 6, 9

Research Project Presentation

Details of Task: Toward the conclusion of the course, students are asked to make an oral presentation about their draft research project to the group (via Zoom, if circumstances require this).

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: 10%

Release: N/A

Due Date: Tuesday 25 May 2021 (Week 12). Late submissions (without an extension) are not permitted.

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

Estimated return date: Wednesday 26 May 2021. Feedback will be provided the same week of the presentation by the Convenor, in addition to immediate feedback as part of the in-class discussion.

Assessment Criteria:

At the conclusion of the course, students are asked to present their research reports to the group at the final seminar of the course. Feedback will be based on:

  • 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 3

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 28/05/2021
Return of Assessment: 01/07/2021
Learning Outcomes: 5, 6, 10, 11, 12

Research Project

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.

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 Friday 28 May 2021 via Turnitin. Late submissions (without an extension) are accepted, however late penalties will apply.

Word Limit: 2400 words

Estimated return date: with the release of final results via Wattle.

Assessment Criteria: Research projects are assessed using the following criteria:

  • Breadth and depth of legal and non-legal research relevant to the topic
  • Quality of legal analysis and reasoning (including consideration of alternative perspectives)
  • 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 to the work and objectives of Environmental Defender’s Office ACT

Assessment Task 4

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 21/05/2021
Return of Assessment: 03/06/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Reflective Journal

Details of Task: Write a reflective journal that draws upon your learning experience at the Environmental Law Clinic. The writing, which can be in the first person, should show your insights and progression in learning throughout the subject. Use the Retell, Relate and Reflect approach or other structured approach to reflection. The journal may also draw upon your contributions to the Wattle discussion forums, with other material and reflections, using sub-headings if you choose, into a coherent reflection regarding 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: 20%

Release: Students are expected to begin working on their reflective journal from the first week of the Clinic.

Due Date: 5pm Friday 21 May 2021 (end Wk 11) via Turnitin. Late submissions (without an extension) are permitted, however late penalties will apply.

Word Limit: 1,200 words

Estimated return date: Thurs 3 June 2021 via Wattle.

Assessment Criteria:

  • Ability to critically reflect on highly relevant incidents and issues from your Clinic experience
  • Ability to make perceptive observations of clinical situations
  • 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.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 0 %
Return of Assessment: 01/07/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10

Participation and attendance in Seminars and Orientation workshop

Details of Task:

This task has two components (a) Orientation Workshop attendance, and (b) Weekly Seminar attendance and participation.

Both involve in-person attendance at a nominated seminar room at the ANU College of Law.

(a) Orientation Workshop attendance In order to complete the task, students must attend and participate in the Orientation Workshop in Week 1 of the Course. Attendance is compulsory. Professional practice legislation and insurance issues associated with the legal practice dictate the need for all students to attend the Orientation workshop in order to participate within the practice as a volunteer paralegal. It is also important to fully understand their role within the clinic and the legal office(s). Although parts of the workshop will be recorded, this does not remove the requirement to attend. Recording will be undertaken only to enable student study of Policies, Guidelines, legislation and other points in the Orientation, to reinforce learning. 

(b) Seminar participation In order to complete this part of the task, students must attend and actively participate in the weekly seminars held each week of the Semester (Weeks 2-12). This includes the final presentation seminar held in Week 12. The Seminars will be carried out in person at the ANU College of Law. Attendance will be recorded. Student participation and preparation for the seminars will be expected. A weekly seminar is to provide students with opportunities to participate in a structured discussion based on presentations by the Convenor, guest lectures and readings. Whilst the participation in the seminars is not assessed, students are encouraged to engage with the seminar content, including by contributing examples /insights from their onsite experience of working with the EDO Solicitors. To take best advantage of the discussion during the seminars, you should read the required readings for the week prior to attending class. In addition, you should seek to read the recommended reading for the week. You may also choose to post to the discussion board created on Wattle for each main topic.

Format : In person. Attendance and active participation is expected.

Nature of Task: Compulsory. Failure to fully complete and participate in the two components of the task (a) the orientation workshop, and (b) a minimum of 9 seminars plus the research paper presentation seminar, (i.e. a total of 11 out of 12 classes) without an exemption based on special circumstances, will result in an NCN grade for the course.

Weighting: 0%

Word Limit: NA,

Referencing requirements: NA; Release Date: N/a

Due Date: Ongoing assessment until end of Week 12, (i.e. Friday 28 May 2021).

Students who are unable to attend on a particular day due to illness or special circumstances should advise the Course Convenor. This should be in advance where possible or where that is not possible, then as soon as is reasonably practicable.

Estimated return date: NA

Assessment Criteria: NA

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

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

Not applicable as assessment is submitted via Wattle. Please keep a backup 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. Extensions may be granted 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).

James Prest
+61 2 6125 1689

Research Interests

James Prest

Tuesday 16:00 17:00
Tuesday 16:00 17:00

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