• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • AsPr Judith Jones
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Summer Session 2022
    See Future Offerings

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

Other Information

LAWS4215 Environmental Law and LAWS4274 Climate Law are complementary. Students are encouraged to complete Environmental Law prior to Climate Law, however, this is not essential. 

Classes may be offered in non-standard sessions and be taught on an intensive base with compulsory contact hours (a minimum of 36 hours). Please refer to the LLB timetable for dates. Please contact the ANU College of Law Student Administration Services to request a permission code to enrol in classes offered in non-standard sessions.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Seminar Reading Paper (null) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  2. 2 x Quiz on Core Legislation (null) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  3. 1 x Case Study Research Project (null) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  4. Class and online participation (null) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  5. A minimum attendance requirement applies in relation to both lectures and seminars (null) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]

The ANU uses 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. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have 3 contact hours per week (a minimum of 36 hours). Students are generally expected to devote at least 10 hours overall per week to this course.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a; Bachelor of Laws (ALLB) and have completed or be completing five 1000 level LAWS courses, and have completed LAWS2201 Administrative Law; or Juris Doctor (MJD) and have completed or be completing five 1000 or 6100 level LAWS courses, and have completed LAWS2201/LAWS6201 Administrative Law. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed LAWS8415 Environmental Law.

Prescribed Texts

There is no prescribed textbook for this course. Students will be able to access a range of relevant environmental law textbooks (as eBooks) and other electronic materials made available via the ANU Law library, ANU scholarly databases and relevant websites. Readings will be listed on the Wattle site for this course and made available 2 weeks prior to the commencement of the course.


It is not recommended that students purchase a hard copy of an environmental law textbook. However, for convenient and unlimited access to an environmental law textbook students may choose to purchase their own eBook copy of one of the leading environmental law textbooks. Further detailed advice on this will be provided as the Wattle site opens 2 weeks prior to the course commencing.

Assumed Knowledge

LAWS2202/ 6202 Commonwealth Constitutional Law is recommended


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $4740
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $5700
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Summer Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
1578 29 Nov 2021 30 Nov 2021 07 Jan 2022 28 Jan 2022 Online View

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