- Class Number 4211
- 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
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.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Identify, plan, manage and execute a substantive and original written research project addressing a complex problem, and do so independently, and to a high professional standard appropriate to the professional setting.
- Demonstrate persuasive and inclusive written and oral communications skills appropriate to specialist and non-specialist audiences, and a given professional setting.
- Integrate and apply multiple areas of legal knowledge, skills and professional values gained throughout the JD program.
- Recognise and apply JD graduate attributes such as, but not limited to: an extended understanding of recent developments in law and its practice; high level research skills; high level conceptualisation; the ability to generate and evaluate complex ideas; legal technical and communication skills; a reflective and ethical approach, and high level personal autonomy and accountability.
- Reflect on and review key elements of a growing professional and ethical identity by, for example, naming and debating specific interests, interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, and career motivations and aspirations.
- 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.
- Recognise and apply improved practical legal skills particularly relating to work routines, professional conduct rules, ethical practice, communication with a variety of audiences, interviewing, writing, and legal research principles and methods.
- Summarise and apply an advanced and coherent body of substantive legal knowledge about environmental justice.
- 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.
- Describe and critique a range of legal practice approaches having regard to the legal needs of individual and group clients.
- Analyse the predicament of individual and group clients having regard to the operation of the law and the legal system.
- Describe and critically assess a range of strategies to improve justice / social justice outcomes.
- Identify and evaluate concrete and achievable ways in which they can promote access to justice and equality before the law.
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
- time management and disciplined research
- writing targeted to the intended audience, and
- effective oral presentation.
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.
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.
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
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.
Extensions late submission and penalties - https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/extensions-late-submission-and-penalties
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.
|Week/Session||Summary of Activities||Assessment|
|1||ANU Week 1 / Clinical Week 1 a) Onsite clinical attendance b) 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) Onsite b) Seminar - Introduction to Environmental and Planning Law|
|3||ANU Week 3 / Clinical Week 3 a) Onsite b) Seminar - ACT Land Use Planning Law|
|4||ANU Week 4 / Clinical Week 4 a) Onsite b) Seminar -Administrative Appeals in ACT Planning and Development Law|
|5||ANU Week 5 / Clinical Week 5 a) Onsite b) Seminar - ACT Planning and Development Law (continued)|
|6||ANU Week 6 / Clinical Week 6 a) Onsite b) Seminar - Indigenous Heritage law|
|7||ANU Break / Clinical Week 7 a) Onsite (subject to confirmation) b) Seminar - Optional - NSW Land & Environment Court visit (subject to confirmation)|
|8||ANU Break / Clinical Week 8 Onsite (subject to confirmation)|
|9||ANU Week 7 / Clinical Week 9 a) Onsite b) Seminar - Environmental Impact Assessment law|
|10||ANU Week 8 / Clinical Week 10 a) Onsite b) Seminar - Environmental Law and Policy making in the ACT and Federal legislatures|
|11||ANU Week 9 / Clinical Week 11 a) Onsite b) Seminar - Federal environmental law with a focus on the EPBC Act's biodiversity provisions|
|12||ANU Week 10 / Clinical Week 12 a) Onsite b) Seminar- Climate Change/ Energy Law|
|13||ANU Week 11 / Clinical Week 13 a) Onsite b) Seminar- Selected topics in environmental law practice|
|14||ANU Week 12 / Clinical Week 14 a) Onsite b) Student presentations on research projects|
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 task||Value||Due Date||Return of assessment||Learning Outcomes|
|Clinical Office Placement||30 %||28/05/2021||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||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:
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.
There are no lectures. Attendance requirements include a mandatory 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 environmental law (ACT and Federal, NSW being the main jurisdictions). 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.
There are no examinations in this course.
Assessment Task 1
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 for the course.
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 – awareness and 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
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.
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.
- 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
Learning Outcomes: 5, 6, 10, 11, 12
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.
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: 2800 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
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
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.
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: 1,400 words
Estimated return date: Thurs 3 June 2021 via Wattle.
- 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
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10
Participation and attendance in Seminars
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 in an NCN grade for the course.
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
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Not applicable as assessment is submitted via Wattle. Please keep a backup copy of tasks completed for your records.
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