LAWS5540 Environmental Protection Law

6 points
(see Timetable)
Non-standard teaching periodUWA (Perth)Face to face
This unit examines key concepts in environmental protection law in Western Australia, in its national and international contexts. It focuses on the law relating to pollution control and environmental impact assessment. The unit analyses a range of legal techniques and principles applied to environmental protection through six key themes: (1) the key definitions, institutions and objectives, (2) policy and information instruments, (3) controls on particular activities, (4) environmental impact assessment, (5) criminal liabilities, and (6) civil liabilities.
Students are able to (1) apply the key concepts of (ecologically) sustainable development and the guiding principles of environmental protection law; (2) critically respond to the ethical issues that arise in environmental protection law

; (3) analyse the principle legal techniques for regulating 'pollution' and 'environmental harm', including policy and informational instruments, licences and notices, market mechanisms and property rights, environmental impact assessment, and criminal and civil liabilities; (4) demonstrate effective research and communication skills, including information literacy skills, synthesis and evaluation of factual, legal and theoretical materials required to address problem solving and legal reform for addressing new issues; (5) apply professional judgment when reflecting on legal and ethical issues in pursuit of environmental justice; (6) critically analyse the meaning of 'pollution' and 'environmental harm'; and (7) demonstrate understanding of the institutional structures for environmental governance.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) pre-class short podcast; (2) pre-class case note; and (3) post-class research Paper. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Alex Gardner
Contact hours
This unit will run online with pre-reading from 27th April. Interactive classes will be held in the final week of May (25-29). Refer to the LMS page for further informaiton,

A reader designed for the unit will be available through the Learning Management System.  In addition,

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cwlth)

National Environment Protection Council Act 1994 (Cwlth)

Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA)

Environmental Protection Regulations 1987 (WA)


Bates, G. Environmental Law in Australia, 9th edn: LexisNexis Butterworths 2016


  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus. Copies of textbooks and other readings will be made available for students to access from the Library, online wherever possible as well as in print.