LAW4685 - International and transnational law and the green economy - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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



Chief examiner(s)

Prof Marilyn Pittard Researcher ProfileResearcher Profile (

Not offered in 2019


For students who commenced their LLB course prior to 2015: LAW1000 or LAW1101 and LAW1102 or LAW1104; LAW2101; LAW2102; LAW 2201; LAW2202; LAW3101; LAW3301.

For students who commenced their LLB (Hons) course in 2015 or later: LAW1111; LAW1112; LAW1113; LAW1114; LAW2101; LAW2102; LAW2111; LAW2112.


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 the context and foundational doctrines and principles of international environmental law and international intellectual property law
  2. Understand the areas of conflict, challenges and opportunities between international IP, international environmental and international trade laws
  3. Reflect 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 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: 10%
  2. Written report (Blog or Policy Brief) (1000 words): 20%
  3. Take-home examination (3500 words): 70%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. The unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information