LAW 7178 - Planning Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2015

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 the Development Act 1993 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 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

  • 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
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assessment Assessment in this course will include a combination of two or more of the following: interim written assessment; in-class presentation; assessment of contribution to class discussion; examination (invigilated or take-home); and/or research essay.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Mr Paul Leadbeter

    The course coordinator is Paul Leadbeter who will be responsible for conducting all the seminars in this course.
    Any queries about the course should be directed to Paul Leadbeter whose contact details are as follows:
    Phone: 8313 4441
    Room 227, Ligertwood Building
    Further information about Paul Leadbeter 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 completion of this course students will be able to:
    1. Critically review the SA  planning system and understand its strengths and weaknesses
    2. Demonstrate a sound understanding of the South Australian statutory planning system and how the policy framework sits within that system
    3. Demonstrate a critical understanding of South Australian planning law, appeal and enforcement processes
    4. Analyse court determinations on planning matters and their implications for future development proposals
    5. Identify a range of legal and policy issues arising out of a development proposal 
    6. Understand the complexities of the statutory referral processes under the Development Act
    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. 4,5
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 4,5
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 1
    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. 2
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    There are no required textbooks. Students will need to have an up to date copy of the S.A. Development Act, 1993 and the Development Regulations, 2008. There will be extensive references to those statutory documents throughout the course.
    They can be accessed through the SA parliament website and some others. The links are set out below.
    Recommended Resources

    There is no recommended text for the course.  A seminar outline and recommended reading for those wishing to explore the topics further and reading materials for each seminar will be available on line through MyUni.


    Other references you may find useful are:

    Bates, Gerry, Environmental Law in Australia 8th ed., Lexis Nexis Butterworths, 2013
    DE Fisher, Australian Environmental Law (2nd ed, Thomson Reuters, 2010).
    Gurran, Nicole Australian Urban Land Use Planning- Introducing Statutory Planning Practice in New South Wales,Sydney University Press, 2007

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

    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 recent 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 Development Act 1993 and the Development Regulations under that Act.It is an excellent resopurce and there is a copy held on reserve in the Law Library.

    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 the Environment and Development Law Reports published by the Law Society of South Australia although that publication appears to have ceased from the end of 2002 when all decisions of the Court began being placed on-line.

    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.

    Decisions of the SA Environment Resources and Development court are  available on-line as follows:

    § All decisions after 2003 are on the Court's web site:; and

    § Most decisions from 1997 are on Austlii:

     The Austlii site contains most legislation.


    It can be accessed through the Law Library’s website. Past experience suggests that Austlii is not always up to date with legislation. The the  alternative ( and actually my preferred site) is the SA Parliament's website for South Australian legislation:

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course will be taught in a series of  three hour time slots using a mixture of lecture format and seminars at which students will be required to discuss, debate and defend their analysis of the relevant material set in the course readings.  This discussion will be prompted by questions posed in each week’s reading materials.Depending on the level of interest in the class it may be possible to undertake at least one site visit within the CBD area to look at a contentious development site and observe those matters which the court and parties were required to view and consider as part of the resolution of the planning dispute.

    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 3 hours of classes each week ( held as a block of 3 hours weekly and comprising a mixture of lecture and seminar format with possible site visit). This amounts to 36 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.
    Learning Activities Summary
    In this course it is intended to cover the following material:

    The historical evolution of statutory land use planning controls in South Australia
    The role of the relevant planning authorities
    Statutory requirements in relation to planning policy creation
    The concept of 'development' and existing use rights
    The development assessment processes and the importance of the Development plans in that process
    The respective roles of the planning authorities, the Minister and the Courts in the planning system and the influence of case law
    The nature of public involvement and third party rights within the planning system
    Appeal and Enforcement processes
    Special planning controls for government development, major projects and infrastructure proposals
    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 and the Natural Resources Management Act 2004 ( 'the One Stop Shop' concept)
    Planning and regulation of state and local heritage places
    Reform proposals

    In 2015 land use planning law will be very topical  ( and possibly controversial) in South Australia as a consequence of the release in December 2014 of the Expert Panel on Planning Reform's report and recommendations on changes to the South Australian system.It is intended to refer to some of the Panel's proposals for reform throughout various components of the course. 

    Specific Course Requirements
    There are no requirements specific to this course.A general interest and some understanding of the role and function of the state and federal goverments and their bureaucracies and the processes for the enactment of legislation and policy and the role and function of local government in South Australia would be helpful although not essential. Students who have a general interest in urban and built environments would also find that a useful asset in this course.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    When entering into the seminar component of the course there will be the opportunity for small group discovery experiences through the use of problem based scenarios which students will approach as a team in small groups of 3 or 4.
  • 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 for this subject will be made up of:

    (a)An essay question of a maximum of 3,000 words length, to be submitted by 5.00 pm on Monday 16 November 2015. This assignment is worth 50% of your final mark.

    (b) An analysis of a Court's written decision involving a planning dispute with a word limit of 1,500 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 devlopment in the locality. This will be worth 25% of student's final mark.Submission date: Monday 17 August 2015 by 5pm

    (c) An answer to a problem scenario with a word limit of 1,500 words. This is worth 25% of a student's final grade.Submission by Monday 5 October 2015 by 5pm

    Extensions will only be granted on medical and compassionate grounds in exceptional circumstances, and must be supported by the relevant documentation
    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.

    Students can redeem failed or unsatisfactory 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.
    Assessment Detail
    (i) Research Essay (50% 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 3000-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 16 November 2015 , at 5pm.
    Please note the requirements and penalties re late submissions and papers which exceed the word limits which are set out in 'Submission' below.

    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 referencing
    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 and cases and development policies ; applies core texts and materials; arguments rational and coherent; adheres to referencing requirements
    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.

    (b) An analysis of a Court's written decision involving a planning dispute with a word limit of 1,500 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 devlopment in the locality. This will be worth 25% of student's final mark. It must be submitted by Monday 17 August 2015 at 5pm.

    (c) An answer to a problem scenario with a word limit of 1,500 words. In this assignment students will be presented with a factual scenario( hypothetical but hopefully realistic)  relating to an actual site and area in South Australia. They will be required to identify the site in the development plan and 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.  This is worth 25% of a student's final grade.It must be submitted by Monday 5 October 2015 by 5pm.

    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 using an iPad. 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//
    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.

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.