LAW 7040 - International Environmental Law (PG)

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2015

This course examines the role of international law in addressing global environmental problems, in particular climate change and the protection of biological diversity. It addresses not only the relevant legal principles, concepts and obligations relating to such problems but also the scientific, political, economic and social dimensions thereof. It also aims to evaluate the effectiveness of international environmental law in terms of its implementation and enforceability. Specific topics will include: -Overview of global environmental problems; -Introduction to international environmental law -Principles and concepts in international environmental law -Biodiversity and wildlife conservation -Climate change -Natural resources and habitat protection -Human rights and the environment -The interface between international and domestic environmental law -Implementation, compliance and enforcement of international environmental law

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 7040
    Course International Environmental Law (PG)
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 2 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assessment Likely to include Class participation (10%); classroom presentation (20%); and 5,000 words essay (70%)
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Mr Paul Leadbeter

    Paul Leadbeter
    Ph: 83134441
    Room 227, Ligertwood Building ( Adelaide Law School)
    Course Timetable

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

    This course will be taught in a semi intensive format over a 2 week period. The first week  will be in Week 7 on Thursday 30 April and Friday1 May 2015. The second week will be Week 8 on Thursday 7 May and Friday 8 May 2014. On all 4 days the course will run from 10am until 5pm with appropriate breaks for tea/coffee or other legal stimulants and lunch.

    The course will be held in the Marjoribanks 128 BankSA Teaching Suite.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will have developed an understanding of the role of international law in addressing global environmental problems, in particular climate change and the protection of biological diversity.
    On successful completion of this course students will understand and be able to explain how the implementation of international obligations is dependant upon the development of implementing legislation at a Nation State level.
    On successful completion of this course students will have developed an understanding of the basic principles underlying international environmental law, particularly the concept of sustainable development and the key international treaties developed to address climate change and the loss of biodiversity,namely the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol to that Convention and the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.
    On successful completion of this course students will have developed an appreciation of the complexity of the scientific, political, economic and social dimensions of international environmental law at a level sufficient to enable them to explain and debate those issues.
    On successful completion of this course students will have developed the ablity to critically evaluate the effectiveness of international environmental law in terms of its implementation and enforceability.
    On successful completion of this course students will have the ability to develop and present to an audience of their peers an argument to persuade decision makers to adopt appropriate international measures in support of an environmental issue.
    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)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-6
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 1-6
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 1-6
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 1-6
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 1-6
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1-6
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1-6
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1-6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    Philippe Sands & Jacqueline Peel,, “Principles of international Environmental
    law” 3rd  ed., Cambridge
    University Press, 2012

    Recommended Resources


    the course there will be references to various sources, particularly on
    internet websites which students may find useful.Some of the more commonly used
    sites are listed below.




    site contains copies of all UN treaties together with data on which countries
    are signatories, date of operation, amendments etc


    Treaties Database:

    is an online resource maintained by the Australian Dept of Foreign Affairs and
    Trade for researching treaties to which Australia is a signatory or where
    Australia has taken other treaty action.


    Nations Environment Program:


    excellent site with many resources and links.


    Union for the Conservation of Nature(IUCN):


    IUCN is the world’s largest and oldest global environmental network. It has
    more than 1,000 government  and NGO
    members and more than 11,000 volunteer scientist members in more than 160
    countries. The Adelaide Law School is a member of the IUCN Academy of
    Environmental law. The IUCN  website has
    links to an enormous amount of useful information.


    OTHER TEXTS (These are
    all available in the Law Library and are just a small list of the many texts
    stored there)

    Birnie, P.W. and Boyle, A.,  International Law and the Environment, 2nd edition,
    Oxford University Press, 2006.

    Atapattu,Samudu A, “Emerging Principles of International
    Environmental Law”, 2006, Transnational Publishers

    Lang,W, Neuhold, H , Zemanek,K ,” Environmental
    Protection and International Law”, 1991

    Cameron,James, Werksman, Jacob, Roderick, Peter “Improving
    Compliance with International Environmental Law”, Earthscan Publications
    Ltd, London, 1996

    David Hunter, James Salzman, and Durwood Zaelke, International
    Environmental Law and Policy, 4th  edition, Foundation Press (Thomson Reuters in
    Australia), 2011

    Ulrich Beyerlin & Thilo Marauhn, International
    Environmental Law, Hart Publishing Ltd, 2011

    Elli Louka, International Environmental law,
    Fairness, Effectiveness and World Order, Cambridge University Press, 2006

    Online Learning

    Additional web-links, further resources, assessment, important messages, topic notes, power point slides, case studies and other materials relating to the course will be placed on MyUni for the purposes of the course. MyUni can be found at ( You should check the International Environmental law course link on MyUni regularly. Any announcements during the intensive will also be posted on MyUni and emailed to all students listed in the course. It is intended to set up a Discussion Board to enable students to share information. 
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    This is the first time that this course has been taught in an intensive format for some years. It is proposed to have introductory lectures to particular topics interspersed with problem based questions designed to prompt  discussion and debate within the class and require students to defend their positions based on their analysis of the relevant material set in the course readings. The first half day is likely to be largely of a lecture nature to ensure key relevant material is explained and identified. Students will be expected to have prepared for the sessions and be in a position to participate in that class discussion.


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

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

    Contact time: This course is taught as an intensive subject and requires  24 hours of formal
    class time.

    Preparation time: In addition to attending formal classes it is anticipated that students
    will do substantial independent work to prepare for classes and to complete the
    course assignments.  

    Learning Activities Summary
    The areas to be covered in this course are as follows:
    • Overview of global environmental problems;
    • Introduction to international environmental law, including  Sources,Institutions,Non-government actors, and Treaty-making;
    • Principles and concepts in international environmental law including Sustainability, Sovereignty,Common but differentiated responsibility, Inter-generational equity, Precautionary principle;
    • Biodiversity and wildlife conservation including Protection of biological diversity,Trade in wildlife,Whaling and Regulation of invasive species;
    • Climate change including Causes and effects,Treaty framework for mitigation,and Future climate change regime;
    • Natural resources and habitat protection including possibly Polar regions, Forests, Protected areas and Ramsar and World Heritage sites;
    • Human rights and the environment including International and regional conventions/declarations, Substantive rights, Procedural rights and Complaints mechanisms;
    • The interface between international and domestic environmental law including Extra-territorial operation of domestic environmental laws and Direct operation of international environmental law in domestic legal systems;
    • Implementation,compliance and enforcement of international environmental law.
    Specific Course Requirements

    There are no additional requirements for completion of this course other than described elsewhere in this document.

    Small Group Discovery Experience
    This course has traditionally been a small class.
  • 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 three (3) components of assessment for this course.  Each part of the assessment scheme is compulsory. This means that if any one of the items of assessment is not undertaken/submitted, the marks assigned for that assessment will be irrevocably lost, and the final mark obtainable will be reduced by that amount.

    Assessment item

    % of final mark

    Due date

    Group or individual assessment


    Learning objectives

    Research Essay (5500 words)


    Monday 8th June 2015, 5pm




    Outline of Argument for problem based scenario (2,000 word limit)


    Tuesday 5 May 2015, 5pm



    1(a)- (d)

    Class Participation






    Assessment Related Requirements
    Students can redeem failed work by submitting additional work after consultation with and in a format approved by the lecturer. To be entitled to do this the student must have received a minimum grade of 40% for the work they are seeking to redeem.

    When undertaking an assessment task, students are to be assessed according to whether
    they are law or non-law graduates respectively. Where the nature of the task involves the
    exercise of skills that law graduates can be expected to have practised or refined over a
    longer period or to a greater degree than their non-law counterparts, an assessor may
    legitimately expect a higher standard of performance from the law graduates in the course.
    Assessment Detail

    There are three(3) components of
    assessment for this course.  Each part of
    the assessment scheme is compulsory. This means that if any one of the items of
    assessment is not undertaken/submitted, the marks assigned for that assessment
    will be irrevocably lost, and the final mark obtainable will be reduced by that


    (i)   WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT (65 % of the final result)

     This aspect of the assessment will provide students with feedback regarding their level of understanding of the course material and their research, written communication and critical thinking skills.

    Students must submit a 5500-word essay on a topic to be selected from a list of topics provided by the lecturer at the
    commencement of the course.

    The deadline for submission is Monday June 8, at 5pm. Assignments must be submitted electronically through Turnitin and will be marked electronically and returned through the same medium. Instructions on how to lodge all assessment documents through Turnitin will be provided at the start of the course.
    Assessment Criteria
    • level of insight and innovative thought
    • depth of analysis and level of critical examination of the issues raised
    • clarity of expression
    • logical planning and sequence
    • evidence of comprehensive research and consideration of the relevant literature
    • demonstrated understanding of the comparative law method
    • demonstrated understanding of relevant legal materials
    • correct application of relevant material
    • overall presentation, including correct grammar, spelling and punctuation
    • use of resources in formulating the paper including proper acknowledgment and correct
    Fail 0 – 49
    Does not develop coherent and rational arguments; demonstrates fundamental errors of
    understanding of key legal principles and concepts; little evidence of research to support arguments;
    demonstrates limited analytical and evaluative skills
    Pass 50 – 64
    Demonstrates a basic understanding of the relevant legal material eg legislation, cases and treaties;
    applies core texts and materials; arguments rational and coherent; adheres to referencing
    Credit 65 – 74
    Demonstrates a high level of understanding of the relevant legal materials; has a thorough
    understanding of course materials; arguments are well constructed with appropriate supporting
    referencing; demonstrates some critical legal thinking and evaluative skills
    Distinction 75 – 84
    A very high standard of understanding of the relevant legal materials with some original and
    sophisticated perspectives included; paper demonstrates high level insight; broad ranging research
    undertaken; evidence of high level of critical thinking; well developed analytical and evaluative skills
    High Distinction 85 - 100
    Outstanding level of understanding and interpretation demonstrated; arguments are compelling and
    well supported by relevant authorities; student has undertaken broad ranging research and
    demonstrated original and sophisticated thinking especially in relation to difficult areas of legal
    application; highly developed written communication skills demonstrated.

    Students choosing to use this course to satisfy the requirements of the substantial research piece of scholarship for their program must undertake the required disciplinary research and produce a 7,000-8,000 word essay which will be assessed against publication standards. This essay will replace the above mentioned research essay

    (ii) OUTLINE OF ARGUMENT FOR PROBLEM BASED SCENARIO ( 25% of the final mark)
    Each student is required to prepare and submit ( via Turnitin)  a written outline in dot point form of the argument they would put on behalf of one of the nominated parties in relation to one of a number of problem based scenarios which will be provided to students at the commencement of the course. at the start of the course which party they will prepare the argument for will be agreed between each student and the lecturer.

    Word limit: 2000 words
    Due date of written outlines: 5pm on Tuesday 5 May 2015.
    The precise dates will be confirmed in the first seminar conducted for the course .

    (iii)CLASS PARTICIPATION (10% of the final result)
    Each student will receive a grade at the conclusion of classes for their participation in class-room
    discussion during the course. This will be based on both their willingness to contribute comments
    and/or respond to questions and the quality of any contributions made.


    Please note the requirements and penalties re late submissions and papers which exceed the word limits. 


    Students must retain a copy of all assignments submitted.
    All assignments in this course are to be submitted  electronically through turnitin. 
    Details for electronic submission through Turnitin will be provided with the assignment instructions.
    All written work in the Law school is required to comply with the approved Law School style guide, The Australian Guide to Legal Citation.
    Extensions: Requests for extensions must be made via email to the course coordinator. Extensions will be granted only for unexpected illness, hardship or on compassionate grounds in accordance with University Policy. Work commitments, travel, holidays or sporting engagements are not unexpected circumstances.
    1. Late Submission: Submission penalties of 5% (of the total mark of the assignment) each day (or part thereof) will be deducted for late submission (including weekends and public holidays), (ie an essay graded 63% will have 5 % deducted if it is one day late, for a final mark of 58%, 10% if it is two days, etc).
    2. Word Length: Assignments which exceed the allocated length (word length or page limit) will be subject to a penalty of 5% of total marks available per 100 words or part thereof (ie with a word limit of 3,000, an essay graded 63% will have 5% deducted if it is 3001 words long, for a final grade of 58%, 10% if it is 3101 words long, etc). Words are calculated including all footnotes and headings within the text but excluding cover page information. Quotations and all referencing information are included in the word count.
    Turnaround time: The written outline of argument assignment for this course will be returned to students within 2 weeks of the submission date. The final assignment will be returned to students within 4 weeks of the submission date with written individual feedback. Students will be notified by email when  marked and graded assignments with comments can be retrieved from the Turnitin portal. 
    All written work in the Law school is required to comply with The Australian Guide to Legal Citation available at
    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 ( 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

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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