LAWS5183 Environmental Law

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (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, including an introduction to the new regulatory challenges of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate, at an advanced level, knowledge of (a) the key concept of (ecologically) sustainable development and the guiding principles of environmental law; (b) the meaning of 'environmental harm' and 'pollution'; (c) the institutional structures for environmental governance; and (d) an analytical understanding of the principle legal techniques of regulating environmental harm and pollution, including administrative legal instruments such as policies, licences and notices, market mechanisms and property rights, environmental impact assessment, and criminal and civil liabilities; (2) demonstrate, at an advanced level, (a) the ability to identify, explain and respond to the ethical issues that arise in environmental law; and (b) an appreciation of the value of developing professional judgment in reflecting on the legal and ethical issues in pursuit of environmental justice; (3) demonstrate, at an advanced level, the capacity for critical thinking to (a) identify and articulate legal issues that arise in environmental decision making in the public and private sectors; (b) apply the knowledge identified in (1) and demonstrate cognitive and creative skills to resolve those issues; (c) identify the legal policy and reform issues and formulate creative responses to those issues; and (d) apply all these skills to the new regulatory challenges of reducing greenhouse gas emissions; (4) develop, to an advanced level, the intellectual and practical skills (including information literacy) to research, synthesise and evaluate the factual, legal and theoretical materials required to address legal problem solving, including for addressing reform issues such as the new regulatory challenges of reducing greenhouse gas emissions; and (5) develop, to an advanced level, the skills to (a) communicate (both orally and in writing) legal knowledge and analysis in ways that are effective and appropriate for legal and non-legal audiences; and (b) collaborate effectively in developing and communicating legal understanding through the demonstration of listening, negotiation and conciliation skills that both engage other parties or an audience and achieve more persuasive communication.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tutorial exercises and (2) exam. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a Juris Doctor Student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Alex Gardner
Unit rules
Juris Doctor (JD) students: LAWS4101 Foundations of Law and Lawyering and 30 points from: LAWS4102 Criminal Law, LAWS4103 Contract, LAWS4104 Property, LAWS4106 Torts, LAWS4107 Land Law, LAWS4108 Foundations of Public Law, LAWS5106 Legal Theory and Ethics
LAWS4109 Legal Theory and Ethics
Advisable prior study:
LAWS5102 Administrative Law
LAWS5101 Constitutional Law
LAWS5540 Environmental Protection Law
Contact hours
3 hours per week
The Reading Guide refers students to prescribed and recommended reading and the LMS site includes links to some generally useful website materials.

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.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.