LAW5389 - The law of climate change - 2018

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.



Chief examiner(s)

Dr Rowena Cantley-Smith

Quota applies

Postgraduate programs are based on a model of small group teaching and therefore class sizes need to be restricted.

Unit guides


City (Melbourne)

  • Second semester 2018 (On-campus block of classes)


For postgraduate Law discontinuation dates, please see

For postgraduate Law unit timetables, please see

Previously coded as LAW7434


Climate change is among the most daunting problems the world faces in the 21st century. This unit deals with the legal dimension of climate change, paying due regard to its social, political and economic context. The unit will examine the development of national, supranational and international regulation, and explore how public and private actors mobilise instruments from different fields of law (such as private law, international trade law, investment law and human rights law) to facilitate or to undermine climate change mitigation and adaptation. For that purpose, examples of strategic litigation from the US, the EU and Australia will be analysed.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of recent developments in climate change law, regulation and policy, as well as the key bodies operating in this area and their functions and responsibilities, with creativity and initiative to solve difficult practical problems and/or for further learning.
  • Investigate, analyse and synthesise information, problems, concepts and theories relating to international, supranational and national law of climate change.
  • Conduct independent research on the political and legislative developments behind the emergence of international, supranational and national climate change law.
  • Use cognitive, technical and creative skills to generate and evaluate complex ideas and concepts relevant to the law of climate change.


Reflection paper(1,500 words): 20%

Research paper(4,500 words): 60%

Presentation: 10%

Class participation: 10%

Workload requirements

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