Sustainability in the Real Property Law Curriculum: Why and How

Kate Galloway


Traditionally considered the preserve of environmental law, for the lawyer and the legal academic, sustainability does not immediately come to mind in considering the subjects of the core curriculum. Yet in light of the contemporary imperative to deal with serious ecological decline and its social and economic implications, a law degree that fails to engage with issues of sustainability will not equip students to grapple with these issues. Instead, graduates will emerge with a discipline knowledge rooted in the modes of thought of the past. This paper presents a way of understanding sustainability as a broader context for the study of law. Using the example of land law, it mounts an argument for adopting a sustainability education approach to curriculum design in law. Finally, it offers a case study of how land law might be taught within the broader context of sustainability.


legal education; sustainability education; discipline standards for law; property law

Full Text:



Alcaraz, J. M., & Thiruvuttal, E. (2010). An interview with Manuel Escudero the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Management Education: A global call for sustainability. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 9(3), 542-550.

Blackstone, W. (1765-1769). Commentaries on the laws of England.

Brundtland, G. H. (1987). Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our common future. Oslo: World Commission on Environment and Development.

Carrigan, F. (2013). They make a desert and call it peace. Legal Education Review, 23(2), 313-343.

Carruthers, P., Mascher, S., & Skead, N. (Eds.) (2011). Property and sustainability: selected essays. Sydney: Lawbook Co.

Carruthers, P., Skead, N., & Galloway, K. (2012a). Teaching property law in Australia in the twenty-first century: What we do now, what should we do in the future? Australian Property Law Journal, 21, 57-76.

Carruthers, P., Skead, N., & Galloway, K. (2012b). Teaching skills & outcomes in Australian property law units: A survey of current approaches. QUT Law and Justice Journal, 12(2), 66.

Christensen, S., & Duncan, W. D. (2012). Aligning sustainability and the Torrens register: Challenges and recommendations for reform. Australian Property Law Journal, 20(2), 112-144.

Dernbach, J. C. (2011a). Legal education for sustainability: A report on US progress. Journal of Education for Sustainable Development, 5(2), 225-232.

Dernbach, J. C. (2011b). The essential and growing role of legal education in achieving sustainability. Journal of Legal Education, 60(3), 489-518.

Evans, E., Burritt, R., & Guthrie, J. (Eds.). (2010). Accounting education at a crossroad in 2010. Sydney: The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, Centre for Accounting, Governance and Sustainability, University of South Australia.

Facione, P. (1990). Critical thinking: A statement of expert consensus for purposes of educational assessment and instruction. California: American Philosophical Association.

Fisher, J., & Bonn, I. (2011). Business sustainability and undergraduate management education: An Australian study. Higher Education, 62, 563-571.

Fox, L. (2006). Conceptualising home: Theories, laws and policies. Oxford: Hart Publishing.

Galloway, K. (2011). Refreshed in the tropics: Developing curriculum using a thematic lens. Journal of the Australasian Law Teachers Association, 4(1&2), 119-128.

Galloway, K. (2012). Landowners’ vs miners’ property interests: The unsustainability of property as dominion. Alternative Law Journal, 37(2), 77-81.

Galloway, K. (n/d). Curl: Property law, women and law, contemporary legal issues. Accessed 26 May 2014.

Galloway, K., Carruthers, P., & Skead, N. (2012). Assessment in the law school: Contemporary approaches of Australian property law teachers. Journal of the Australasian Law Teachers Association, 5(1&2), 1.

Galloway, K., Greaves, K., & Castan, M. (2012). Interconnectedness, multiplexity and the global student: The role of blogging and micro blogging in opening students' horizons. Journal of the Australasian Law Teachers Association, 5(1&2), 1-12.

Galloway, K., Greaves, K., & Castan, M. (2013). Gatecrashing the research paradigm: Effective integration of online technologies in maximising research impact and engagement in legal education. Journal of the Australasian Law Teachers Association, 6(1&2), 83-91.

Galloway, K., Shircore, M., Corbett-Jarvis, N., & Bradshaw, R. (2012). Using sustainability to inform the renewal of the LLB foundation curriculum: Knowledge skills and attitudes for the future. QUT Law and Justice Journal, 12(1), 1-20.

Garnaut, R. (2011). The Garnaut Review 2011: Australia in the global response to climate change. Canberra: Cambridge.

Global Oneness Project. (2009). The land owns us. Retrieved 26 May 2014, from

Heath, M., & Burdon, P. (2013b). Academic resistance to the neoliberal university. Legal Education Review, 23(2), 379.

Henderson, R. F. (1975). Poverty in Australia: First main report of the Australian Government Commission of Inquiry into Poverty. Canberra.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2007). Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Core Writing Team, Pachauri, R.K and Reisinger, A. (eds.)]. Switzerland: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

James, N. (2011). Good practice guide (Bachelor of Laws) thinking skills: ALTC.

Jones, Peter F. (2012) Transforming the curriculum: social work education and ecological consciousness. In: Gray, Mel, Coates, John, and Hetherington, Tiani, (eds.) Environmental Social Work. Routledge, pp. 213-230.

Jones, Peter, and Galloway, Kate (2013) Curriculum design through an ecological lens: a case study in law and social work education. The International Journal of Sustainability Education, 8 (1). pp. 117-129.

Kift, S., Israel, M., & Field, R. (2010). Bachelor of Laws Learning and Teaching Academic Standards Statement: Australian Learning and Teaching Council.

Locke, J. (1966). The second treatise of government (An essay concerning the true original, extent and end of civil government). In J. W. Gough (Ed.), The Second Treatise of Government (An Essay Concerning the True Original, Extent and End of Civil Government); and, A Letter Concerning Toleration (3rd ed.). Oxford: Blackwell.

Loewenstein, A. (2013). Profits of Doom: How Vulture Capitalism is Swallowing the World. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.

Mabo v The State of Queensland (No 2) (1992) 175 CLR 1.

Melbourne Law School. (2013). Ashurst and Melbourne Law School Launch Sustainability Clinic. Retrieved 23 May 2014, from

Pan, P., & Perera, H. (2012). Market relevance of university accounting programs: Evidence from Australia. Accounting Forum, 36(2), 91-108. doi: 10.1016/j.accfor.2011.11.001

Reid, A. & Petocz, P. (2006). University lecturers’ understanding of sustainability. Higher Education, 51(1), 105-123.

Shephard, K. (2008). Higher education for sustainability: Seeking affective learning outcomes. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 9(1), 87-98.

Shephard, K., & Furnari, M. (2012). Exploring what university teachers think about education for sustainability. Studies in Higher Education, 1-14. doi: 10.1080/03075079.2011.644784

Shircore, M., Galloway, K., Corbett-Jarvis, N., & Daniel, R. (2013). From the first year to the final year experience: embedding reflection for work integrated learning in a holistic curriculum framework. Journal of the First Year in Higher Education, 4(1), 125-133. doi: 10.5204/intjfyhe.v4i1.158

Steel, A. (2013). Good practice guide (Bachelor of Laws) law in broader contexts: ALTC.

Stern, N. (2007) The economics of climate change: The Stern review, Cambridge, ENG, University Press.

Sugarman, D. (1986). Legal theory, the common law mind and the making of textbook tradition. In W. Twining (Ed.), Legal Theory and Common Law (pp. 26-62). Oxford: Blackwell.

Thomas, I., & Day, T. (2014). Sustainability capabilities, graduate capabilities, and Australian universities. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 15(2), 208-227. doi: 10.1108/IJSHE-05-2012-0046

Thornton, M. (2000). Law as business in the corporatised university. Alternative Law Journal, 25(6), 274.

Townes O'Brien, M., Tang, S., & Hall, K. (2011). Changing our thinking: Empirical research on law student wellbeing, thinking styles and the law curriculum Legal Education Review, 21(1&2), 147.

United Nations. (2002). Report on the World Summit of Sustainable Development. Johannesburg. (‘Johannesburg Declaration’)

United Nations Environment Programme. (2007). Global environment outlook: Environment for development (GEO4). Retrieved May 7, 2008, from http://www.unep. org/geo/geo4

Warburton, K. (2003). Deep learning and education for sustainability. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 4(1), 44-56. doi: 10.1108/14676370310455332

Young, S., & Nagpal, S. (2013). Meeting the growing demand for sustainability-focused management education: a case study of a PRME academic institution. Higher Education Research & Development, 32(3), 493-506. doi: 10.1080/07294360.2012.695339

Abstract Views:

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Contact | Announcements | © Queensland University of Technology | ISSN: 1832-8342