• Class Number 1548
  • Term Code 3320
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Judith Jones
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 28/11/2022
  • Class End Date 13/01/2023
  • Census Date 06/01/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 09/12/2022
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

Required Resources

There is no set text. There is a a detailed course outline with associated readings which will be available through Wattle.

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

Task submission times refer to Canberra time (AEST/AEDT).

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: 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 any announcements relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 The Origins and Growth of Environmental Law Introduction - culture and philosophy Objectives of environmental law including ESD ESD and precaution Optional self-test questions to be completed after each topic
2 The Power of the Commonwealth and the States Division of governance responsibility EPBC Act (Cth) State/Territory legislative responsibilities Optional self-test questions to be completed after each topic An understanding of Constitutional Law is helpful here.
3 NSW Planning and Development Control The strategic planning system Development control Environmental impact assessment This topic allows for problem based learning (including knowledge of the fundamentals of Administrative Law). Optional self-test questions to be completed after each topic
4 The Enforcement of Environmental Law Regulatory theory Compliance Optional self-test questions to be completed after each topic
5 The Common Law and the Courts Relevant common law doctrines Public participation Optional self-test questions to be completed after each topic
6 Land Tenure and Property Rights Indigenous rights and interests Resource ownership Optional self-test questions to be completed after each topic
7 Reflections on the Progress of Environmental Law

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Self-test Questions 0 % * * 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Assignment 30 % 16/12/2022 09/01/2023 1, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Research Essay 70 % 12/01/2023 06/02/2023 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 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 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.


This is an on-campus course. Lectures will be recorded. Tutorials will not be recorded.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 0 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Self-test Questions

Brief Description: Self-test questions to provide feedback on your progress in the course.

Nature of task: Optional

Weighting: 0%

Available: Available at the end of each topic

Estimated return date: Discussed in class on the subsequent day

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 16/12/2022
Return of Assessment: 09/01/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6.


Brief Description: An assignment to be completed in the week following the conclusion of the course. The assignment will potentially cover all of the topics completed in classes. The assignment will have two parts.

Part 1 (worth 15 %) will contain several short answer questions seeking your reflections about readings from the course.

Part 2 (worth 15%) will be have a focus on topics 2, and 3 (and part 5) and will involve a problem solving component (requiring an understanding of the fundamentals of Administrative Law).

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

Weighting: 30%

Release: The assignment will be released at 5 pm on the final day of classes, Friday, 9 December 2022. This document will be posted on Wattle.

Due date: 5pm, Friday 16 December 2022 via Turnitin. Late submissions (without an extension) are permitted, but late penalties will apply. 

Word limit: 1200 words. Your submission must be made in a word processing file format (.doc, .docx). PDF files will not be accepted.The ANU College of Law's Word Length and Excess Word penalties policy can be found here (hyperlink: https://law.anu.edu.au/word-length-and-excess-word-penalties).

Estimated return date: Monday 9 January 2023, via Turnitin.

Assessment Criteria: will be provided on Wattle.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 70 %
Due Date: 12/01/2023
Return of Assessment: 06/02/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Research Essay

Brief Description: The research essay has to be an academic essay with a well-defined thesis and argument. 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. If you would like to address a topic of your own choosing, please contact Judy Jones by email, giving at least some indication of one (or more) topics which you are interested in addressing. She will then respond by email.

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

Weighting: 70%

Release: The research essay questions will be released on the penultimate day of classes, Thursday, 8 December 2022. This document will be posted on Wattle. Time has been allocated in the final session of the course on Friday, 9 December 2022 to discuss how students should go about writing these essays. Students can also select their own research topic, with the lecturer's permission.

Due date: 5pm, Thursday 12 January 2023 via Turnitin. Late submissions (without an extension) are permitted, but late penalties will apply. 

Word limit: 2800 words. Your submission must be made in a word processing file format (.doc, .docx). PDF files will not be accepted. The ANU College of Law's Word Length and Excess Word penalties policy can be found here (hyperlink: https://law.anu.edu.au/word-length-and-excess-word-penalties).

Estimated return date: Monday 6 February 2023, via Turnitin.

Assessment Criteria:

A more detailed rubric will be issued with the questions (indicative criteria as follows).

  • Clear explanation of what the paper is attempting to accomplish
  • Depth of research appropriate for a substantial research paper
  • Ability to critically evaluate materials
  • Quality and precision of argument(s) including providing support for arguments made
  • Quality of expression and correctness of grammar
  • Appropriate referencing.

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 in a word processing file format (.doc, .docx). Electronic copies in .pdf file format are not acceptable.

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

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. 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 tests or examinations.
  • Late submission with an extension. To ensure equity for all students, the 5% penalty per working day for late submission of work does not apply if you have been granted an extension. Where an extension is granted, the revised due date and submission time will be provided in writing. Importantly, any revised due date is inclusive of weekends and public holidays. Regardless of which day of the week the revised due date falls on, students who submit after that date will be penalised by 5% of the possible marks available for the task per 24-hour period.  

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).

AsPr Judith Jones

Research Interests

Environmental law, environmental history, cultural history, risk assessment and scientific uncertainty

AsPr Judith Jones

By Appointment

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