Tracking pedagogical change

We are at a critical turning point in climate conscious legal education.

Some Australian law faculties and legal educators have made significant progress to formalising this inclusion either through referring to sustainability or climate change in Unit Learning Outcomes (at the subject level) and/or Course Learning Outcomes (at the program level).

Moreover, a small number of Australian universities have moved to include education and curriculum in various strategy statements and documents.

There is now discussion also about including sustainability and/or climate change in University-level Graduate Attributes or Graduate Qualities to apply to all award courses at those institutions.

However, little is known about current practices of, and barriers to, the integration and mainstreaming of climate change considerations into the Australian legal curriculum.

To address this knowledge gap, Dr Julia Dehm, Professor Nicole Graham and Zoe Nay undertook a survey of subject coordinators and teachers from Australian law schools to shine a light on the extent to which climate change is currently being incorporated into the teaching of both compulsory law subjects and electives.

The survey also mapped the key barriers that need to be overcome to enable broader mainstreaming of climate change in Australian legal education.

We sent an invitation to legal educators across all 39 law schools in Australia. In total, we received 166 responses, which constitutes approximately 12% of legal educators.

The data from this survey is currently being analysed. Some initial highlights from the data are below:

Survey Respondent Demographics

EMPLOYMENT STATUS Number of respondents % of respondents
Casual 1 0.6%
Part time ongoing position 16 9.64%
Full time ongoing position 139 83.73%
Part time fixed position 4 2.41%
Full time fixed position 6 3.61
TIME OF EMPLOYMENT Number of respondents % of respondents
Under 2 years 7 4.24%
2-5 years 18 10.91%
5-10 years 34 20.61%
10-15 years 45 27.27%
15-20 years 25 15.15%
Over 20 years 36 21.82%


Percentage of respondents teaching core curriculum subjects 


Percentage of respondents teaching elective subjects

Percentage of respondents incorporating climate change in core curriculum subjects

Percentage of respondents incorporating climate change in elective subjects 

This research has been reviewed and approved by The La Trobe University Human Research Ethics Committee (HEC23149).