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LAW3441 Natural Resources Law

Semester 3, 2012 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business and Law
School or Department : School of Law
Version produced : 30 December 2013

Contents on this page


Examiner: Andrew George
Moderator: Noeleen McNamara


Pre-requisite: (LAW3203 and LAW3204) or (LAW5703 and LAW5704)


Today, the wealth of Australia ostensibly lies in its energy and resources, which are vast. These range from non-renewable oil, gas, coal, and uranium, to renewable geothermal, hydro, wind, solar, ocean, and bioenergy. Australia's energy and resources markets are both domestic and international, in particular engaging the emerging markets of India and China.

Coal Seam Gas is a topical issue for energy and resource lawyers, especially in Queensland and New South Wales although also possibly other States and Territories. Regulation of Coal Seam Gas exploration and extraction is constantly changing. Energy and resources law addresses issues of regulation, parties, and interests. How do federal and state governments balance the interests of mining and petroleum operators with the interests of landholders? What regulatory aspects of energy and resources law do these governments affect?

Energy and resources law is an increasingly specialised field of legal practice. More is expected of the modern energy and resources lawyer than mere transaction work. There is always the prospect of litigation, which is likely to increase in frequency with the value of Coal Seam Gas. Compensation to landholders is increasingly important.

This course also considers questions like: what power imbalances exist between parties in negotiations? What is the Land Court? What are the Planning or Land and Environment Courts? Who are the Mining Wardens? Energy and resources law concludes with a view to the future. This field is changing. What regulation is required? What litigation is deserved? Who is prepared to be an energy and resources lawyer?


On successful completion of this course students should be able to demonstrate:

  1. broad knowledge of Australian energy and resources and the legal principles of energy and resources law
  2. legal problem solving skills including the ability to:
    i. identify and articulate relevant factual, legal and policy issues
    ii. apply legal reasoning and research to generate appropriate responses to relevant issues
    iii. engage in critical analysis and make a reasoned choice amongst alternative legal ideas
    iv. think creatively in approaching factual, legal and policy issues when generating legal responses
  3. advanced written communication skills
  4. research skills
  5. the ability to learn and work independently
  6. awareness of local and national contexts and perspectives in energy and resources law.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Background and overview of law in Australia 10.00
2. Key concepts in energy and resources law 10.00
3. Energy resources and market 10.00
4. Case study 1 Coal seam gas 15.00
5. Exploration 10.00
6. Mining and petroleum operations 10.00
7. Landholders 10.00
8. Case study 2 Litigation 15.00
9. Conflict of laws 5.00
10. Contemporary issues and revision 5.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Looseleaf service: LexisNexis, Energy and resources law.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Australian Resources and Energy Law Journal, AMPLA.
  • Environmental and Planning Law Journal, Thomson Reuters.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 40.00
Directed Study 50.00
Private Study 75.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
FORUM PARTICIPATION 10 10 12 Nov 2012 (see note 1)
MAJOR ASSIGNMENT 40 40 11 Jan 2013
TEST 40 40 08 Feb 2013

  1. Post due by the Sunday following each week during the semester.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    If you are an international student in Australia, you are advised to attend all classes at your campus. For all other students, there are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks. Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without prior approval of the examiner, then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Not applicable.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Assignments:
    i. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the examiner.
    ii. Students must retain a copy of each assignment submitted for assessment. This must be produced within 24 hours if required by the examiner.
    iii. In accordance with university policy, the examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.
    iv. The examiner will not accept submission of assignments by facsimile.
    v. In the event that a due date for an assignment falls on a local public holiday in their area, such as a show holiday, the due date for the assignment will be the next day. Students are to note on the assignment cover the date of the public holiday for the examiner's convenience.
    vi. Students may be required to submit assignments via EASE or other method for electronic submission of assignments.
    vii. Students may be required to use Turnitin.

  2. Referencing in assignments:
    Students studying this course as part of a Bachelor of Laws or Juris Doctor must use the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC) style. Students who are not enrolled in either of these programs may use either Harvard (AGPS) or the AGLC in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. For AGLC style guide enquiries, consult the AGLC manual from the USQ Library's referencing guide at, or contact the Law librarian. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide at

  3. Dishonest actions:
    i. Any student who is alleged to have performed a dishonest action relating to any assessment in the course will have a course of action taken against him/her as outlined in the academic regulations.
    ii. Pieces of assessment should be the work of individual students. Joint pieces of assessment are not permitted unless written approval has been obtained from the examiner.
    iii. Dishonest action in relation to assessment includes: copying or attempting to copy the work of others; use of or attempting to use information prohibited from use in that form of assessment; submitting the work of another as your own; consciously committing acts of plagiarism, that is, taking and using another's thoughts or writings as one's own with intent to deceive, which occurs when paragraphs, sentences, a single sentence or significant parts of a sentence which are copied directly, are not enclosed in quotation marks and appropriately footnoted or referenced in the text; direct quotations are not used, but text is paraphrased or summarised, and the source of the material is not acknowledged by footnoting or other reference in the text.

Other requirements

  1. Computer, e-mail and Internet access:
    Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at