Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


In this course students carry out work on current or potential environmental and natural resources law cases in or proposed for the Land & Environment Court of NSW, supervised by an experience environmental law Clinical Teacher/Solicitor at UNLC. This practical work is scaffolded by an intensive series of online lectures on NSW natural resources and environmental law, judicial review and civil enforcement techniques, and in-class exercises, discussions and field trips. From engagement in environmental advocacy and targeted course content, students will learn about the reasons why the law seeks to protect the environment, its techniques and methods, and its potential and limits in doing so. Students will gain hands on knowledge preparing them for practicing and policy-making in the environmental and natural resources law field, as well as an opportunity to reflect on these practices.

As this course may involve current clients at the UNLC, participants will be required to sign the confidentiality agreement attached at the end of this Course Outline.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 2 - 2018.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of public interest environmental litigation and protection of the environment generally.

2. Critically evaluate the uses and limitations of legal process available to protect the environment and demonstrate the ability to assess whether it is effective in doing so.

3. Demonstrate the development of lawyering skills such as problem solving, fact investigation, communication, negotiation, litigation and alternative dispute resolution through participation in public interest cases.

4. Identify and critically analyse the wider issues in legal practice including the importance of pro bono contributions by the legal profession, and acting as an advocate for the protection of the environment through law.

5. Demonstrate an advanced working knowledge of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) and related legislation as it relates to natural resources management enforcement.

6. Demonstrate basic understanding of the practice and procedure most commonly involved in State planning environmental law practice.

7. Demonstrate an appreciation of the role of, and tensions between, diverse stakeholders in planning and environmental matters, and the social role and importance of planning and environmental law to the community.


Students will be engaged in the supervised preparation and carriage of public interest cases or projects. This may include the drafting of court documents, analysing documents and reports, reviewing government and scientific documents and court documents including experts’ reports and other relevant material.

Seminar (and potential casework) topics in this course include:

1.       Development law: Part 4 of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 (NSW), including mining and threatened species protection; the role of Councils and the Planning Assessment Commission; Environment Protection Licences under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (NSW).

2.       Brief introduction to judicial review.

3.       Practice and Procedure in the Land & Environment Court of NSW, including a visit to and observation of the Court;

4.       International environmental protection: the Montara oil spill case.


This course is only available to students enrolled in programs Master of Laws or Juris Doctor/Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, or Master of Environment Law, OR have successfully completed LAWS1001A, LAWS1001B, LAWS1003A, LAWS1003B, LAWS2004A, LAWS2004B, LAWS3004A and LAWS3004B.

Assumed knowledge

LAWS6000 Legal System and Method I, and LAWS6001 Legal System and Method II

LAWS6002A Torts Part A, or LAWS6120 Torts I

LAWS6002B Torts Part B, or LAWS6121 Torts II

LAWS6003A & LAWS6003B Criminal Law & Procedure Part A & B, or LAWS6130 Criminal Law & Procedure

LAWS6004A Contracts Part A, or LAWS6140 Contracts I

LAWS6004B Contracts Part B, or LAWS6141 Contracts II

LAWS6005 Property

Assessment items

Participation: Participation in Seminars

Presentation: Presentation of summary of research

Written Assignment: Research Assignment presented as a Letter of Advice

Written Assignment: Reflection: As a blog

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.