LLM Programme

The taught modules offered on the LLM programme vary from year to year. Please check the full list of taught modules list for details of modules running in specific academic years. We make every effort to ensure that every module will be offered, but modules are subject to change and cancellation. You are therefore advised to check this site regularly for further updates throughout the year preceding entry to the LLM programme.

Credit value: 15 credits (6 ECTS)

Module Convenor:
Ms Chiara Armeni

Other Teachers:
Farhana Yamin (UCL)
Dr Ruth Mackenzie (University of Westminster)
Professor Philippe Sands (UCL)
Intercollegiate teaching: No
Teaching Method: 10 x two-hour seminars
Who may enrol: LLM students, other UCL Masters students
Prerequisites: None
Barred module combinations: This module cannot be taken with its full module LAWSG028 International Environmental Law
Core module for specialism: Environmental Law and Policy, International Law
Practice Assessment: to be confirmed
Assessment method for Masters students: 2-hour unseen written examination
Module Overview

Module summary

This module will examine the main principles and instruments of international environmental law addressing global environmental challenges. A brief introduction to the actors and agencies in the field of international environmental law is provided, and identification of the sources of international environmental law It will then explore principles and objectives underpinning international environmental law, such as sustainable development, the precautionary principle, and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. The focus then shifts to implementation, state responsibility for environmental harm and dispute resolution. The course will finally turn to case studies: the atmosphere – air pollution, ozone depletion and climate change; marine resources; species and habitat protection; and biodiversity conservation.

Module syllabus

Nature, Sources of International Environmental Law (IEL) - Principles of IEL (main focus on sustainable development, precautionary principle and common but differentiated responsibilities)- Implementation and Enforcement of IEL - Responsibility, Dispute Settlement and Compliance in IEL -Protection of the Atmosphere: Air Pollution, Ozone Depletion and Climate Change - Marine Environment - Species, Habitat Protection and the Conservation of Biological Diversity

Recommended materials

The recommended course textbook is Patricia Birnie, Alan Boyle and Catherine Redgwell, International Law and the Environment, Oxford University Press, 3rd edition (2009). Students may also wish to refer to Philippe Sands, Principles of International Environmental Law, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 3rd edition (2012) and M Bowman, P Davies and C Redgwell, Lyster’s International Wildlife Law, Cambridge University Press, 2nd edition (2010).

Preliminary reading

Chapter 1 of Birnie, Boyle and Redgwell (above) or chapter 1 of Sands (above) or chapters 1 and 2 of Bowman, Davies and Redgwell (above) or C. Redgwell, ‘International Environmental Law’ in M. Evans (ed), International Law (3rd edn, OUP 2010), chapter 23.

Some background reading in public international law is recommended if not previously studied. A good source is Vaughan Lowe, International Law (Clarendon Press, 2007), chs. 1-2 (general overview, and how international law is made) and ch. 7 (on the global environment).

Other information: N/A

Prizes for this module: There are currently no prizes available for this module.


The application process for the 2014-15 academic session, for entry in September 2014, is now open.

Please refer to the How to apply section for information on the application process.