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International and EU Environmental Law


This module examines the development of international environmental law and environmental policy. Attention is given to the development of international environmental law. There are four parts to the module:

Part 1 consists of the environmental context identifying the issues and problems facing the environment and how legal and institutional frameworks are used to address environmental issues. This includes concepts such as sustainable development. Issues raised include the quality of the environment; protecting human health; the prudent and rational utilisation of natural resources and promoting measures at national and international level to deal with environmental problems.

Part 2 sets out an analysis of principles and rules establishing international environmental law. This includes human rights and various sectoral areas such as atmosphere, oceans and sea, freshwater and biological diversity.

Part 3 considers implementation strategies for international environmental law. This covers environmental impact assessment, environmental information and liability for environmental damage.

Part 4 addresses issues surrounding strategies for developing environmental law. This includes an input from EU law as well as international law. Case studies on recent International Court of Justice Cases are included.


On completion of this module students will be able to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the following:

  • the main conceptual and legal principles of International Environmental law.
  • the role of international environmental law in the economy of national states including an assessment of the cost benefits of environmental protection in terms of market forces.
  • the various treaty and legislative provisions applicable to the environment.
  • the institutional relationship between international law and national institutions in the area of environmental regulation.
  • the role of environmental regulation and the techniques of international environmental law.
  • the future of environmental policy making in the environmental law area.
  • an understanding of the use of science and economic instruments in the regulation of environmental problems.


  • contemporary issues such as the operation of environmental rights, the application of the polluter pays principle, and the effectiveness of the precautionary principle.
  • the efficacy of regulatory enforcement.
  • a case study of the role of the European Environment Agency.
  • the role of Environmental Impact Assessment, the free movement of goods and the environment, environmental liability, and responses to global warming.
  • special case studies on global warming and the Stern Report, genetically modified organisms, waste management and chemical waste strategies.
  • overall analysis at theoretical and conceptual levels of the way that International Environment law has developed with references to techniques and institutions.