Embedding Sustainability in the Law Curriculum

QUT Law School is a global leader in designing our law curriculum to ensure that our students graduate with a deep understanding of the role of law in achieving the sustainable development goals. There is increasing emphasis on the central role that law plays in supporting sustainable development through three key domains: environmental protection, social justice and good governance (ESG). Businesses and governments are under increasing pressure to address ESG issues and this is an emerging area of legal practice. Law firms are increasingly adopting an ESG framework to advise on previously separate specialisations, such as corporate law, human rights and environment and planning, and many have consolidated ESG practice teams and resources for clients.

Against this backdrop, QUT’s recently reaccredited law degree focuses on embedding sustainability knowledges and skills in the law curriculum by applying an ESG framework. A new course learning outcome on ‘The role of law in achieving sustainable futures’ has been created to reflect the inclusion of sustainability in the core law curriculum. This new learning outcome will be assessed in relevant core law units, including the new first year unit, LLB108 Law, Governance and Sustainability. QUT is the first Law School in Australia to review our curriculum to incorporate a whole of course approach to embedding sustainability.

We also offer a range of elective units related to sustainability and law. Our approach to embedding sustainability in the law curriculum capitalises on the research-teaching nexus of ESG group members and is informed by learning and teaching scholarship.

Select research outputs

  • Nicole Graham, Fady Aoun, Anna Huggins, Joanna Kyriakakis, Tanya Mitchell, Elizabeth Newton, Nicole Rogers, Allison Silink and Katie Woolaston, ‘All Legal Education is Climate Law Education: The Core Curriculum Matters’ in Amanda Kennedy et al (eds), Re-Imagining Environmental Law (Edward Elgar, forthcoming 2023).
  • Amanda Kennedy, A D Plessis, R Fowler, E Hamman and C Warnock, Teaching and Learning in Environmental Law: Pedagogy, Methodology and Best Practice (Edward Elgar,2021).
  • Rowena Maguire, Evan Hamman, Justine Bell-James, Amanda Kennedy and Philippa England, Environmental, Planning and Climate Law in Queensland (LexisNexis, 2020).

Select conference presentations

  • Anna Huggins, Rowena Maguire and Amanda Kennedy, ‘Embedding Sustainability in the Core Law Curriculum: A Case Study’ (paper presented at IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Conference, Finland, 1 August 2023).
  • Saiful Karim, Felicity Deane, Andrew Garwood-Gowers, Fran Humphries, Mahtab Uddin, Abdullah-Al Arif and Afshin Akhtar-Khavari, ‘Integration of Sustainable Development Goals Awareness in Law Curriculum’ (paper presented at Australasian Law Academics Association Conference, New Zealand, July 2023).

Chief Investigators

Gardens Point botanic gardens fig tree