LAWS12067 - Environmental Law

General Information

Unit Synopsis

The environmental movement is strong and getting stronger. It is an important social revolution. Environmental law is a new and exciting area of legal practice. The Constitution of Australia does not include power for the Federal Parliament to make laws in relation to the environment. In this unit we will consider how the Commonwealth does have a role to play in environmental law despite its lack of constitutional power. We consider the role of State Governments at the Parliamentary and Executive level. The impact of environmental groups has gained more momentum year by year; after an initial explosion of publicity which led to blockade of the Franklin River and ultimately the High Court Tasmanian Dam decision in 1983. New philosophies such as the precautionary principle will be explored and explained. The apparent conflict between environmental law rights which are in the public domain and landowners' property and contractual rights in relation to land will be considered. We will also deal with environmental litigation, including prosecution and the difficulties which face environmental groups. Discussion points include recent developments such as the extraction of coal seam gas and the development of the Gas Fields Commission. We explore the process of environmental impact assessment.


Level Undergraduate
Unit Level 2
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band SCA Band 4
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

Pre-requisites: 24 credit points of law units

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

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Residential School No Residential School

Unit Availabilities from Term 3 - 2022

Term 3 - 2022 Profile

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Assessment Tasks

This information will not be available until 8 weeks before term.
To see assessment details from an earlier availability, please search via a previous term.

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%).

Consult the University’s Grades and Results Policy for more details of interim results and final grades

Past Exams

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Previous Feedback

Term 3 - 2019 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 4.5 (on a 5 point Likert scale), based on a 50% response rate.

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Source: John Milburn, unit coordinator.
Unit content and delivery.
Continue with the assessment regime and the general format of this unit. I updated the unit content to reflect the new planning regime introduced in Queensland, with an increased emphasis on issues associated with industry practice.
Action Taken
For the 2019 offering of this unit, I did continue with the assessment regime and the general format of this unit. One student provided feedback that the assessment requirements were overwhelming but generally the students responded favourably to the content.
Source: Student feedback and self-evaluation.
Interaction with students and between students using UCROO.
Continue using UCROO as the primary means of online discussion with students and between students.
Action Taken
As UCROO was discontinued as a learning platform, I conducted my discussions with students through Moodle, which I found to be an inferior forum.
Source: John Milburn
In term 3, 2019 for LAWS12067, I continued with a curriculum that has a major emphasis on the practical application of environmental law. While the text provides excellent academic content, greater emphasis could be placed on teaching environmental law by reference to materials which supplement the practical application component of the unit.
Change the textbook, to allow for greater reference to the practical application of environmental law.
Action Taken
Source: John Milburn
At its next offering, with the introduction of a new textbook, the content and presentation of the unit should be remodelled.
Decrease the reading component of the unit and increase the practical skills component of the unit.
Action Taken
Unit learning Outcomes
This information will not be available until 8 weeks before term.
To see Learning Outcomes from an earlier availability, please search via a previous term.