ENVPL403-20A (HAM)

Planning Law

30 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences
Environmental Planning


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: frances.douch@waikato.ac.nz

Placement/WIL Coordinator(s)


Student Representative(s)

Lab Technician(s)


: nat.enright@waikato.ac.nz

You can contact staff by:

  • Calling +64 7 838 4466 select option 1, then enter the extension.
  • Extensions starting with 4, 5, 9 or 3 can also be direct dialled:
    • For extensions starting with 4: dial +64 7 838 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 5: dial +64 7 858 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 9: dial +64 7 837 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 3: dial +64 7 2620 + the last 3 digits of the extension e.g. 3123 = +64 7 262 0123.
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Paper Description

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The purpose of this paper is to provide students with sufficient background and skills in environmental and resource management law, to enable them to be effective participants in resource management processes.
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Paper Structure

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The paper is delivered over A semester through three hourly lecture sessions each week, with associated assessment components occurring throughout. The format for the three hour sessions will normally consist of one hour of lecture on a topic for the week, with the remainder comprising student presentations and discussion of case law examples. Attendance in class is compulsory, and only the lecture content will be recorded on Panopto, due to the presentations and informal discussion. If students choose, they can have their presentation recorded to enable self-critique. The course will be supported on Moodle and by an electronic reading list.
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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Learning outcomes
    • access and utilise legal information sources that will enable them to effectively identify and research law and legal decisions relevant to planning
    • understand how law applies to planning practice
    • demonstrate skills in legal interpretation with particular reference to RMA planning documents
    • understand the role of the professional planner in statutory processes in preparation for undertaking that role
    • demonstrate experience and skill in summarisation
    • show development of skills in critical analysis of legal material
    • make an effective oral presentation
    Linked to the following assessments:
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Assessment is designed to assist in achieving the specified learning objectives and meeting the intent of the graduate profile. Class discussion and lecture sessions will also contribute to these ends. The course-work to exam ratio is 1: 0.

Assessment 1: Presentation The class will be partially taught using the case law method. Each student will have a decision assigned and will be required to make an oral presentation to the class worth 30% of the final grade. Depending upon the number of students in the class the presentations will either be on an individual or group basis. Completion of the presentation is a compulsory requirement of the course. Grading criteria for the presentation will be marked using the Presentation Appraisal Sheet available on the Moodle site for this paper. Students will be appraised on both the substance of the report back and presentation skills. The matters listed in the appraisal sheet give an indication of the presentation skills assessed. In terms of substance, the following matters will also be critiqued:

  • Understanding and explanation of the facts
  • Understanding and explanation of the central legal issues raised in the decision
  • The logical structure and organisation of the key facts and issues
  • The quality of the written presentation
  • The clarity of the written presentation
  • Appropriate citing of sources
  • Accuracy of spelling and grammar

Assessment 2: Decision summaries The decision summaries consist of simple summaries of the judicial decisions contained in the course readings, over a 10 week period (weeks 2-11 inclusive). The objective of this assessment is to ensure that students have read the decisions prior to coming to class. Some of the detail may be too difficult to understand, particularly in the early stages of the class. The point of the summaries is to get you used to reading the decisions extracting the main points and becoming familiar with the language and the method. Summarisation is recognised as an important skill for a professional planner. The requirements for the assessment are as follows:

  • Summaries to be completed each week in advance of the decisions being discussed in class- starting week 2
  • Summarise the main facts of the decision
  • Summarise key legal issues
  • 15 lines per decision font size 10
  • 5 additional lines of personal comment
  • One question in preparation for discussion
  • Hand-in at the beginning of each class
  • Time period week 2-11 (10 weeks of summary)
  • 20% of course mark – 2% for 10 weeks
  • Presenters of the case are still required to provide the summary in addition to their presentation
  • Extensions rare, as point of summary is to prepare for class. Late summaries will not be marked.

Marking criteria considers:

  • Level of understanding of decision
  • Succinct encapsulation of main facts and issue
  • Written expression and grammar
  • A top mark is awarded for those who identify the main legal issues and show an understanding of why the decision is important.
  • Marks will be deducted for exceeding the line limit

Assessment 3: Decision review and commentary You will write one review for this paper. It is worth 25% of your final grade. The word limit is 1000 words. Material in excess of the 1000 word limit will not be marked. The review is a compulsory part of your assessment and in order to gain a credit for the paper you must complete it. This assessment task requires you to locate any New Zealand court decision on a matter pertinent to planning/resource management and to provide a review of the decision. 500 words should be dedicated to introducing and summarising the main facts, legal issues and the decision of the court. The balance 500 words should be applied to critically analysing the decision and providing your own original commentary upon the matters decided. Your commentary is not restricted to matters at law but may also concern the social, cultural, economic or environmental context or implications. You may choose any form of media to communicate 1000 written words, provided that the piece of work is readily markable and the written words are clear. Prior to commencing the work you are requested to have your choice of media approved. You may choose if you wish to create your own fictional persona, and audience, for example a council manager explaining a decision to councillors, a presentation at a hui or to kaumatua, or a local surfer explaining a decision to a community interest group. A song, a poem or a straightforward essay or report. It is your choice. Your review will be assessed according to how well it:

  • addresses the assessment task;
  • has a clear and accessible structure;
  • shows an understanding of the matters at issue and their context;
  • involves sound reasoning, and clearly relates to matters at issue in the decision;
  • uses concepts and terms correctly;
  • shows original thinking and creativity
  • uses correct spelling, grammar, & punctuation

The review will be handed in hard copy through FIC unless otherwise arranged with the lecturer

Assessment 4: Test

The remainder of the formal assessment will consist of a compulsory review test in the study week at conclusion of the course. The test is worth 25% of the course grade

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Decision presentation
  • In Class: In Workshop
2. Decision summaries
  • Hand-in: In Lecture
3. Critical decision review
5 May 2020
3:00 PM
  • Hand-in: Department Office
4. Test
9 Jun 2020
3:00 PM
  • Hand-in: In Lecture
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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The readings will be available electronically through the electronic Waikato Reading Lists (https://waikato.rl.talis.com/lists). It is recommended that the decisions to be summarised and presented each week are brought to class in electronic form or printed out by students each week to use in class as sections of the decisions are often examined carefully in class. Students have the choice as to which would best suit their needs.

Students should also obtain a copy of the Resource Management Act 1991. A pdf version is available on Moodle. A hard copy is not recommended as the RMA is subject to ongoing change
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Online Support

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This paper is supported through Moodle http://elearn.waikato.ac.nz/. Important information about the paper will be provided to you via Moodle. Lecture notes will be posted prior to each class. They will be thorough, but not a complete substitute for attendance in class. You can take online introduction to Moodle classes at this site. Your grades will also be accessible through Moodle once work has been assessed
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This paper is held in the A Semester. It has three contact hours weekly. Attendance at class is compulsory as work will be covered that is not available outside of the session. If for some unforeseen reason you are unable to attend class please email Christina in advance with your explanation. For a 30 point paper it is expected that a student complete 300 learning hours. On the basis of a 16 week semester (including recess and study periods) a student should spend around 18.75 hours a week on average working on this paper. This includes attending classes, completing assessed work, reading and thinking. In the fourth year student self-directed learning is an important component of the year’s work, and it is very important to set aside sufficient time to complete all assessment in advance of class and assessment hand-in. Some students may also need to spend considerable additional time to make sure core concepts are in place.
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Linkages to Other Papers

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Restricted papers: ENVP403, ENVP503

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