LAW5640 - International and transnational law and the green economy - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

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



Unit guides



  • Term 2 2017 (Day)


In a world facing potentially devastating impacts from climate change, such as drought, hunger, population displacement and economic decline, the global community has struggled to find consensus on how to avoid such impacts while continuing to achieve economic development. The goals of sustainable development and a "green economy" require technology innovation and diffusion, especially to developing economies. However, these goals conflict with the direction of international intellectual property regimes.

The trend in international environment law is towards greater collaboration, sharing of knowledge, transfer of clean technology, whereas the trend in international IP law, especially in the relevant area of patent law, is the opposite - tending towards enhancing IP rights without providing for effective mechanisms to address pressing environmental concerns. International trade agreements, most notably the WTO, have contributed to the increasing divergence of objectives in relation to IP on the one hand and environment on the other

This unit will examine the intersection - conflicts, challenges and opportunities - between international IP, international environmental and international trade laws. It will identify the points of conflict and incompatibility and will study national, transnational and private initiatives that seek to transcend the challenges and achieve mutual goals.


On completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Identify and evaluate the context and foundational doctrines and principles of international environmental law and international intellectual property law
  2. Recognize and have a deeper understanding of the areas of conflict, challenges and opportunities between international IP, international environmental and international trade laws
  3. Reflect critically on the roles that intellectual property rights and international trade rules play in fostering or inhibiting innovation including in the area of green technology
  4. Research and critically assess the existing context and the opportunities for the development of national and international laws to promote a global green economy
  5. Learn from each other in a cross-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional perspective about strategies and models for legal development to promote the desired ends.


Attendance requirement: students who fail to attend at least 80% of the classes in this unit (ie who miss 3 or more classes) will receive a result of 0 N for the unit. Students who are unable to meet this requirement due to severe illness or other exceptional circumstances must make an application for in-semester special consideration with supporting documentation.

  1. Seminar presentation: 25%
  2. Research assignment (5625 words): 75%

    Seminar presentation would require the student to lead part of a class and facilitate group and class discussion. Both professors teaching the unit would be present for the class presentation so that requirements of mark verification would be met.

Workload requirements

Students enrolled in this unit will be provided with 36 contact hours of seminars per semester whether intensive, semi-intensive, or semester-long offering. Students will be expected to do reading set for class, and to undertake additional research and reading applicable to a 6 credit point unit.

Chief examiner(s)


LAW5000 Australian legal reasoning and methods

LAW5001 Principles of criminal law and procedure

LAW5002 Principles of contract law A

LAW5003 Principles of torts

LAW5004 Principles of public law and statutory interpretation

LAW5005 Principles of contract law B

LAW5006 Principles of property law

LAW5007 Principles of constitutional law

LAW5008 Principles of equity

LAW5009 or LAW5018 Advanced property law

LAW5010 Principles of trusts

LAW5011 or LAW5016 AND LAW5017 Principles of company law

LAW5012 Principles of evidence