C&ENVENG 7044 - Introduction to Environmental Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2016

The course examines regulatory mechanisms that address environmental problems and focuses particularly upon regulation of development. Included are: a general introduction to the law and the legal system; the nature of environmental problems in Australia; constitutional responsibilities and powers with respect to environmental planning and protection; land-use planning and protection systems; environmental impact assessment; regulation of pollution and waste disposal; and environmental litigation.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code C&ENVENG 7044
    Course Introduction to Environmental Law
    Coordinating Unit School of Civil, Environmental & Mining Eng
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 4 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Restrictions Available to MEng in AeroEng, ChemEng, C&EEng, Civ&StrEng, El&ElEng, EngMaths, MechanEng or MechatEng; MEng(Adv) in AeroEng, ChemEng (all specialisations), C&EEng, Civ&StrEng, ElEng, MechanEng, MechatEng, Sens Syst&Sig Proc or Telecom students only
    Assessment may include assignments and/or exam - details at beginning of semester
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Mr Paul Leadbeter

    Course Coordinator (Lecturer & Tutor Weeks 5-12) Paul Leadbeter

    Paul is located in the Adelaide Law School, Ligertwood Building, Room 227, Ph: 8313 4441

    Email: paul.leadbeter@adelaide.edu.au


    Lecturer and Tutor (Weeks 1-4) Kyra Reznikov

    Kyra is a lawyer in private practice who has a large environmental law practice for a range of corporate and private clients. She also has an engineering degree.
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Lectures are held on Wednesdays between 4 pm and 7pm in Ingkarni Wardli B21.

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from the Course Planner at https://access.adelaide.edu.au/courses/search.asp
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    To provide students with the skills to:

    (a) understand the legal framework within which we operate;

    (b) understand and apply the concept of ecologically sustainable development (“ESD”) particularly in the context of environmental legislation;

    (c) recognise and find solutions to environmental legal issues;

    (d) understand the scheme of environmental regulation at a State, Federal and international level; and

    (e) identify issues which might create environmental law problems in the workplace as well as an understanding of how such potential issues might be managed.

    The course will investigate the development of the idea of "ESD". It will also investigate how the principles of ESD are incorporated into Australian legislation, including the South Australian Environment Protection Act 1993 and the Development Act 1993.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    a -e
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    a - e
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    c, e
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    a - e
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    c - e
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    There are no required resources for this subject, however as noted below there are a number of recommended resources.
    Recommended Resources
    The following is an excellent recommended (but not required) text. Several copies are held on reserve in the law library. A lecture outline and recommended reading for those wishing to explore the topics further and reading materials for each seminar will be available online through MyUni.

    GM Bates, “Environmental Law in Australia”, 8th edition, 2013, LexisNexis Butterworths
    Other useful texts include:

    DE Fisher, Australian Environmental Law (2nd ed, Thomson Reuters, 2010).

    Bates and Lipman, Corporate Liability for Pollution (LBC Information Services, 1998).

    Godden, Lee & Peel, Jacqueline, Environmental Law: Scientific, Policy and Regulatory dimensions, Oxford University Press, 2009

    The Australian Law Journals most frequently referred to in this area include:

    Environmental & Planning Law Journal (EPLJ), Thomson Reuters

    Local Government Law Journal (LGLJ), Thomson Reuters

    The Australasian Journal of Natural Resources Law & Policy, University of NSW.


    Development Act 1993 (SA) and Development Regulations 2008 (SA) Note that the planning system in SA is currently undergoing reform and a new act the Planning Development and Infrastructure Act is intended to replace the current legislation. Students will be kept advised of the progress on this change during the course of the semester.
    Environment Protection Act 1993 (SA) and Environment Protection Policies
    Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (selected sections to be advised)

    Legislation can be downloaded free from www.legislation.sa.gov.au/index.aspx (SA Attorney General’s Department) or www.austlii.edu.au/databases.html (Australian Legal Information Institute) and South Australian legislation may be purchased from the Service SA Government Legislation Outlet (EDS Centre, 108 North Tce, Adelaide, SA )).

    You will be required to use the legislation to answer tutorial questions.

    It is for your own benefit to have the legislation in class (in hard copy or electronic form).


    Most cases can also be downloaded from the Attorney General’s Department site or Austlii (see the web site addresses above) or obtained from the law library
    Online Learning
    All reading lists and connections through to the listed materials and readings will be available on MyUni.

    Announcements during the semester will also be posted on MyUni and emailed to all students listed in the course.

    As noted above (and technology willing) it is the intention to record all lectures. If for some reason a lecture does not record and a student did not attend that lecture it will be the responsibility of the student to find someone who attended the missed lecture if they want details and notes about what was covered at the time.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course consists of a weekly 3 hour class that will be a combination of lectures and tutorials. The tutorials will comprise a mixture of discussion points and problem-solving sessions developing and assisting students to gain an understanding of the practical application of some of the material covered in lectures.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Environmental law is a large area and this course seeks to provide students with an introduction to a number of the key areas covered under the generic title of “environmental law”. It is accepted that the course is being taught to students without a legal background and an attempt has been made to structure the course in a way which has regard to that fact. The core information will be provided in the lectures with the tutorials being used to further discuss topical issues and illustrate the application of some of the legal principles in a practical setting through problem solving tutorials.

    The problem exercises will also illustrate some of the inherent complexities of applying a mixture of law and policy measures in this area as well as the very political nature of so many of the government decisions and actions on environmental issues.
    Learning Activities Summary
    The lecture and tutorial topics for each week are set out below. At the commencement of the course a more detailed timetable for each week will be made available on MyUni:

    Week 1:

    Lecture: Introductory matters, Sources of law (Lecture will use all 3 hours in the first week)

    Week 2:

    Lecture: Australian Legal System, Constitution and the Environment, International Law

    Tutorial: Intro to Environmental law, Sources of law

    Week 3:

    Lecture: Ecologically Sustainable development (ESD)

    Tutorial: (over 2 hours) Australian legal system, Constitution and the Environment

    Week 4:

    (3 hours of tutorial) International law, ESD, Exam preparation

    Week 5:

    Lecture: (over 3 hours) Land Use Planning & development law (including environmental impact assessment requirements)

    Week 6:

    Lecture: Control & licensing of environmentally significant activities & pollution

    Tutorial: Planning and development problem

    Week 7:

    Lecture: Commonwealth Environment protection laws-Environment protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act, 1999 and Bilateral arrangements with the states

    Tutorial: Environment Protection Act (pollution) problem

    Week 8:

    Lecture: Climate Change & the law

    Tutorial: Role of Commonwealth law and government in environmental matters

    Week 9:

    Lecture: Water resources law and policy

    Tutorial: Site Contamination problem

    Week 10:

    Lecture: Conservation of Biological Diversity

    Tutorial: Water resources problem

    Week 11:

    Lecture: Exam Revision & technique (1 hour)

    Tutorial: (2 hours) Major projects and EIA, Biodiversity issues problem question

    Week 12:

    Group Presentations

    Specific Course Requirements
    There are no Specific Course Requirements.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    The Group assignment provides students with a small group discovery experience. It is described below in the Assessment Detail.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    There are four components to the assessment scheme:
    1. Attendance and participation at classes (10% non redeemable)
    2. Tutorial Assignment on material covered in Weeks 1 and 2 (10% non redeemable)
    3. Group Assignment and Presentation (30% non redeemable)
    4. Exam (Open Book) (50% non redeemable).
    Assessment Related Requirements
    There are the following requirements for this course:

    1. It is expected that students attend and actively participate in 10 out of the 12 weekly 3 hour lecture/tutorial sessions. Students have the responsibility for ensuring their names are marked off each week. Merely attending classes but not participating will not give you the full 10%.

    2. Where a student seeks an extension note that extensions will only be granted on medical and compassionate grounds in exceptional circumstances, and must be supported by the relevant documentation (eg medical certificate).
    Assessment Detail
    The components of the overall assessment scheme for this subject will be as follows:-

    (i) Attendance and participation at classes (10%)

    Students must attend and participate (where relevant) at 10 out of the 12 classes. Students should be familiar with the reading materials and be prepared for the topics of discussion for each class.

    It is the responsibility of each student to ensure his or her name is marked off the roll.

    Lectures and tutorials are interactive and may generate discussion. Participation for lectures and tutorials should be meaningful and reflect adequate preparation for class. This will include reading the background material and preparing for tutorials. Students should undertake readings in advance to maximise ability to participate meaningfully.

    (ii) Tutorial Assignment (10%)

    The assignment will consist of a series of questions which will be issued at the start of the semester. The questions will relate to material covered in the lectures in Week 1 and Week 2.

    Students must submit their assignments prior to the Week 3 class. Marks will be deducted for late submissions.

    Submission instructions will be provided with the assignment questions.

    (iii) Group Assignment and Presentation (30%)

    Students will form groups of 3 or 4 and will be asked to assume they work in a corporate organisation. They will be given a factual scenario of the type that might confront them in a work situation. The task of the group will be to prepare a written report for the management executive in the organisation on the problem and also provide a 15-20 minute presentation outlining the key components of their report. They will be required to consider the factual circumstances surrounding the problem and the legal obligations and responsibilities surrounding those circumstances and prepare their report with recommendations on how to address the problem. This will require students to identify and research the relevant law and policy and consider how that law and policy might impact on the matter.

    The length of the report will be 3,000 words maximum. Where there are references to other matters the paper should be footnoted and accompanied by a bibliography. The footnotes and bibliography are not counted in the calculation of the length of the paper. Each group will be required to make their 15-20 minute presentation to the class on the issue in Week 12. The group will receive a mark for the report paper and presentation.

    Marks will be deducted for late submissions in accordance with standard university policies (see below).

    (iv) Exam (50%)

    The exam will be an open book exam in two parts. PART A will be theory and PART B on a problem question. The time available to complete the exam will be approximately 2 ½ hours plus reading time.
    1. Students must retain a copy of all assignments submitted.

    2. Group Assignments must be submitted both electronically and in hard copy. Details of the process for electronic submission (through MyUni) will be provided during the early part of the semester.

    3. All individual assignments must be attached to an Assignment Cover Sheet which must be signed and dated by the student before submission. Lecturers will withhold a student’s results until such time as the student has signed the Assignment Cover Sheet.

    4. Markers can refuse to accept assignments which do not have a signed acknowledgement of the University’s policy on plagiarism (refer to policy on plagiarism below).

    5. The Law School’s standard penalties in relation to late submission and assignments exceeding the word limit apply to Introduction to Environmental Law. (It is understood that these standards are fairly consistently applied across the university.) The penalties are:

    (a) for late submissions: Submission penalties of 5% of the total mark possible will be deducted for every 24 hours or part thereof that it is late, including each day on a weekend. For example, an assignment graded 63% will have 5% deducted if it is one hour late, for a final grade of 58%, 10% if it is 25 hours late, etc.;

    (b) for assignments over the word length: 5% for every 100 words over 3,300 words. The limit of 3,300 includes a 10% margin over the base word limit of 3,000 words.


    Consistent with Law School policy, the primary communication mechanism for this course will be

    through placing announcements on MyUni. It is essential that students regularly check the

    announcements page for information. It is your responsibility to check MyUni regularly to ensure

    you have the most recent information. Any urgent information (such as unexpected cancellation of classes due to illness) will be sent to you by email as well as placed on MyUni.


    Assignments will be returned to students within 3 weeks of the due date with written feedback.

    Students will be notified by email when assignments are ready for collection from the Law School Front Office.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

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