Faculty of Law

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedCity (Melbourne) Trimester 2 2012 (On-campus block of classes)


For postgraduate Law discontinuation dates, please see http://www.law.monash.edu.au/current-students/postgraduate/pg-disc-dates.html


This unit examines the way in which the international community is tackling existing and future environmental problems, including ozone layer depletion, climate change, destruction of biodiversity, world heritage conservation, and disposal of hazardous waste. International and Australian domestic obligations in respect of these various environmental issues will be examined. The development of international environmental law policy will be looked at as well as Australia's profile in international negotiations on environmental matters.


Upon successful completion of this unit students are expected to demonstrate:

  1. a general grasp of the historical evolution of international environmental law and policy in response to the increasingly global, transboundary nature of ecological problems
  2. an understanding of key foundational aspects of public international law which underpin international environmental law, including sovereignty, jurisdiction, territory and state responsibility
  3. an appreciation of the major sources of 'hard' and 'soft' international environmental
law, together with the underlying international law basis of same
  1. a general familiarity with the major international environmental agreements and a broad understanding of the major political conflicts surrounding such agreements
  2. a general understanding of the role of key actors and institutions in the evolution of international environmental law, including states, governmental and non-governmental organisations, multinational corporations, and international organisations such as the United Nations and the Bretton Woods Institutions
  3. have a broad understanding of the relationship between international politics and policy in the development, application and enforcement of international environmental law
  4. an understanding of Australia's role in the negotiation, settlement and implementation of international environmental agreements
  5. an ability to think critically and present a reasoned argument in relation to key developments and problems in international environmental law and policy
  6. be able to make an assessment of where international environmental law can be expected to develop in the future.


Research paper (6,000 words): 80%
Take-home exam: 20%

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Geert Van Calster

Contact hours

24 contact hours per teaching period (either intensive, semi-intensive or semester long, depending on the Faculty resources, timetabling and requirements).