LAW 7178 - Planning Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2021

The focus of this subject is upon the control of land use and development under the South Australian planning system. It commences with an examination of the historical evolution of the SA planning system and then considers the nature of the planning procedures under Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 and the controls imposed under that Act. The role and responsibilities of planning authorities and the Courts in the planning system and the purpose and influence of case law will also be considered together with the nature of public involvement within the planning system. The course will also consider the role the statutory planning controls play in the control of government development, major projects and infrastructure proposals heritage and sustainability and the integration of the development assessment system through the statutory referral process with other statutory assessment and approval processes such as the Environment Protection Act, 1993 will be examined.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 7178
    Course Planning Law
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 2 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Course Description The focus of this subject is upon the control of land use and development under the South Australian planning system. It commences with an examination of the historical evolution of the SA planning system and then considers the nature of the planning procedures under Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 and the controls imposed under that Act. The role and responsibilities of planning authorities and the Courts in the planning system and the purpose and influence of case law will also be considered together with the nature of public involvement within the planning system. The course will also consider the role the statutory planning controls play in the control of government development, major projects and infrastructure proposals heritage and sustainability and the integration of the development assessment system through the statutory referral process with other statutory assessment and approval processes such as the Environment Protection Act, 1993 will be examined.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Kerryn Brent

    The course coordinator is Dr Kerryn Brent who will be responsible for conducting all the seminars in this course.
    Any queries about the course should be directed to Kerryn, whose contact details are as follows: 

    Phone: (08) 8313 2878
    Room 311, Ligertwood Building
    Further information about Kerryn can be found at: 

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    1. Analyse the elements of the SA planning system's regulatory and policy components. 
    2. Apply knowledge of basic principles of land use planning legal systems.
    3. Assess South Australian planning law, appeal and enforcement processes.
    4. Analyse court determinations on planning matters and their implications for future development proposals.
    5. Identify and analyse a range of legal and policy issues arising out of a development proposal. 
    6. Independently undertake self-directed legal research, including through the use of online technologies.
    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)
    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
    1, 3, 4, 5, 6
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    3, 5, 6
    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
    5, 6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    There are no required textbooks.

    Planning law and policy in South Australia is, at the time of preparing this profile, the subject of significant statutory reforms. A new statute, the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (SA) has been passed by the state parliament and has gradually been brought into operation. The new planning law system established by the Act has been implemented for outback and rural South Australia, and the Minister has signalled that it will come into effect for Adelaide and Metropolitan areas sometime in 2021. The new system has significantly changed land use planning in South Australia. Students undertaking this course should have an up to date copy of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (SA) and associated regulations available during class. They will also need to access the new Planning and Design Code, which is an e-tool, during class. These resources are all available online, and are referred to extensively throughout the course.

    Recommended Resources
    Text Book(s)
    There is no recommended text for the course.  A seminar outline and compulsory and recommended readings will be made available for each seminar on MyUni.

    Additional sources
    Other sources you may find useful are:

    Leslie A Stein, Principles of Planning Law (Oxford University Press, 2008) 

    Gerry Bates, Environmental Law in Australia (Lexis Nexis Butterworths, 10th Ed, 2019)

    DE Fisher, Australian Environmental Law (Thomson Reuters, 3rd ed, 2014)

    L Godden, J Peel, & J McDonald, Environmental Law, (Oxford University Press, 2nd ed, 2019)

    The Australian 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 New South Wales.

    A publication in South Australia in the area of planning law is “Planning Law SA” which is a looseleaf service published by Presidian Legal Publications and for whom the consulting editor is an Adelaide barrister, Brian Hayes QC. This publication is basically an annotated version of the old Development Act 1993 (SA) and the regulations under that Act which was the legislation recently repealed by the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act, 2016 (SA). It is an excellent resource and there is a copy held on reserve in the Law Library and available online. It is not clear whether Presidian are going to produce an annotated version of the new Act.

    There is also a looseleaf publication “Planning Law in Australia” published by Thomson Reuters (general editor: Glen McLeod-SA State editor: Paul Leadbeter) which contains an analysis of relevant land use planning laws in all states and territories including South Australia as well as some material on laws relating to built heritage and environmental authorisation processes.

    Environmental cases decided in the State Supreme Courts, the Federal Court and the High Court are reported in the Local Government and Environment Reports of Australia (LGERA). All significant decisions of the SA Environment, Resources and Development Court (ERDC) and the SA Supreme Court (where they deal with environmental issues) can be found in Austlii and on the SA courts'website.

    The preferred site for SA legislation is A Parliament's website for South Australian legislation:  

    Online Learning
    MyUni will be used for communication and as a discussion board. Specifically, it will be used to post announcements, post lecture materials (e.g. slides, lecture recordings) and announce assessment tasks. It will also contain Lecture and Tutorial Guides, and Course Materials. Students are expected to check MyUni regularly to keep up to date with these materials and additional learning resources throughout the course.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course involves two hours of teaching activities each week. Students are required to attend a two-hour seminar each week, which will involve a mixture of delivered content, and interactive discussions and activities. 


    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: attend 2 hours of classes each week ( held as a block of 2 hours weekly and comprising a mixture of lecture and seminar format). This amounts to 24 hours of formal class time across the semester.

    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. The University expects full time students (those undertaking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies. For Planning Law, which is a 3 unit course, this equates to approximately 12 hours per week, including class time. 
    Learning Activities Summary
    Topics covered in this course will include the following: 
    Introduction to Australian law & planning law
    An overview of the Planning, Development & Infrastructure Act 2016 (SA)
    The concept of development and existing use rights
    The role of relevant authorities
    Development plans and planning policy
    The development assessment process and development applications 
    Opportunities for public input in the planning process
    Heritage protection and planning
    Planning for adaptation and climate change
    Amenity and Planning
    Appeals and Enforcement of Planning Laws
    Specific Course Requirements
    There are no specific requirements for this course. 
  • 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
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Redeemable Length Learning Outcome
    Essay Individual

    2pm 1 November 2021

    50% No 3000 words 1-6
    Decision Analysis Individual 2pm 16 August 2021 25% No 2000 words 3,4
    Problem Scenario Individual 2pm 5 October 2021 25% No 2000 words 1-6
    Assessment Related Requirements
    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
    (a) Research Essay (50% of the final result, 3000 words)
    Students must submit a 3000-word essay on a topic to be selected from a list of topics provided by the lecturer at the commencement of the course. 

    Please note the requirements and penalties re late submissions and papers which exceed the word limits which are set out in 'Submission' below.

    (b) An analysis of a Court's written decision involving a planning dispute (25% of the final result, 2000 words) 
    This will require students to read a nominated court decision and answer a number of questions about the decision and the implications of that decision for future development in the locality. 

    (c) An answer to a problem scenario (25% of the final result, 2000 words)
    In this assignment, students will be presented with a hypothetical  factual scenario relating to an actual site and area in South Australia. They will be required to look up the site using the Planning and Design Code and apply the relevant planning policies. There will also be issues related to the interpretation of provisions in the legislation and previous court determinations and their application to that problem.
    1. Students must retain a copy of all assignments submitted.

    2.All assignments must be submitted  electronically through the Turnitin portal and will be marked and returned with comments on line. Comments will be both a mixture of typed and verbal feedback which students will be able to retrieve through Turnitin. Details of the process for electronic submission( through MyUni ) will be provided during the early part of the semester.

    3. The Law School’s standard penalties in relation to late submission and assignments exceeding the word limit apply to Planning Law. 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 essay 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( in the case of the essay) or 1,650 words ( in the case of the other 2 assignments). Those limits include a 10% margin over the base word limit for each assignment.

    All written work in the Law School is required to comply with the Australian Guide to Legal Citation available at : http//

    Turnaround time: Students can expect assessment marks and feedback to be returned to them within 2–4 weeks of the submission date. 
    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.

    Finality of Assessment Grades

    Students are advised that Course Coordinators will not enter into negotiations of any kind with any student regarding changes to their grades. It is irrelevant, in any given circumstance, that only a minimal number of additional marks are required to inflate a student’s grade for any individual assessment item or course as a whole. Pursuant to the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policyand the Adelaide Law School Assessment Policies and Procedures, grades may only be varied through the appropriate channels for academic review (such as an official re-mark).

    In accordance with the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, course coordinators ‘ensure that appropriate marking guidelines and cross-marking moderation processes across markers are in place’ in each course. Procedures adopted by Adelaide Law School to ensure consistency of marking in courses with multiple markers include:
    • assurance of the qualifications of markers, and their knowledge of the content covered in each course;
    • detailed marking guidelines and assessment rubrics to assist in the marking of items of assessment;
    • sharing of example marked assessments at various grade bands across markers;
    • reviewing of selected marked assessments from each marker by the course coordinator;
    • comparison of the marks and their distribution across markers;
    • automatic double-marking of all interim assessment receiving a fail grade, and of final assessments where a student’s overall result is a fail grade;
    • the availability of re-marking of assessments in accordance with Adelaide Law School’s Assessment Policies and Procedures.

    Approval of Results by Board of Examiners
    Students are reminded that all assessment results are subject to approval (and possible moderation/change) by the Law School’s Board of Examiners. Assessment results at the University are not scaled. Under the Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, students are assessed ‘by reference to their performance against pre-determined criteria and standards … and not by ranking against the performance of the student cohort in the course’. However, under that same policy, the Board of Examiners (as the relevant Assessment Review Committee for courses at Adelaide Law School) is required to ‘ensure comparability of standards and consistency’ in assessment. On occasions, the Board of Examiners will form the view that some moderation is required to ensure the comparability of standards and consistency across courses and years, and accordingly provide fairness to all law students. All assessment results are therefore subject to approval (and possible change) until confirmed by the Board of Examiners and posted on Access Adelaide at the end of each semester.
  • 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 feedback
    The course is constantly being updated and revised to reflect the evolution of the law, to respond to student feedback, and to engage with the latest teaching practices. Student feedback is collected each time the course is run, including through SELT reports. Previous SELT reports, and staff feedback on them, are posted on the course MyUni site for students to view and consider.
  • Student Support
    The University Writing Centre provides academic learning and language development services and resources for local, international, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students enrolled at the University of Adelaide.

    The centre offers practical advice and strategies for students to master reading, writing, note-taking, time management, oral presentation skills, referencing techniques and exam preparation for success at university through seminars, workshops and individual consultations.

    Lex Salus Program
    Lex Salus (law and wellbeing) is an initiative of the Adelaide Law School aimed at destigmatising mental health issues; promoting physical, mental and emotional wellness; building a strong community of staff and students; and celebrating diversity within the school. It also seeks to promote wellness within the legal profession, through the involvement of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia, the Honourable Chris Kourakis, as the official Patron of the program.

    Students can participate in the Lex Salus program by attending barbecue lunches, pancake breakfasts, knitting and crochet circles, seminars, guest speakers, conferences and other activities. Our Facebook page, website and regular all-student emails promote upcoming events, and have tips and information on wellness.

    Our Lex Salus YouTube channel also includes videos on topics like managing stress, and interviews with LGBTQ lawyers and their supporters which celebrate diversity and individuality. Students who commit to 10 hours of volunteering with Lex Salus in one year can have their service recognised on their academic transcript and through a thank you morning tea with the Chief Justice and law school staff.

    Student Life Counselling Support
    The University’s Student Life Counselling Support service provides free and confidential service to all enrolled students. We encourage you to contact the Student Life Counselling Support service on 8313 5663 to make an appointment to deal with any issues that may be affecting your study and life.
  • Policies & Guidelines

    This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.

    Academic Integrity
    All students must be familiar with the University’s Academic Integrity Policy. Academic Misconduct is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Academic Misconduct (which goes beyond plagiarism) can be a ground for a refusal by the Supreme Court of South Australia to admit a person to practice as a legal practitioner in South Australia. Academic Integrity is an essential aspect of ethical and honest behaviour, which is central to the practice of the law and an understanding of what it is to be a lawyer.
  • 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.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.