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:
Other Teachers:
Dr Ruth Mackenzie
Professor Philippe Sands
Professor Farhana Yamin


This module will examine the main principles and instruments of international environmental law that address global environmental challenges. A brief introduction to the actors and agencies involved in the field of international environmental law is provided, and the sources of international environmental law identified. This module will explore the principles and objectives underpinning international environmental law, such as sustainable development, the precautionary principle, and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, as well as implementation, state responsibility for environmental harm and dispute resolution. The module addresses the evolution of international environmental law through case studies including the atmosphere, marine resources, and biodiversity conservation.


  1. Nature, Sources of International Environmental Law (IEL)
  2. Principles of IEL (main focus on sustainable development, precautionary principle and common but differentiated responsibilities)
  3. Implementation and Enforcement of IEL
  4. Responsibility, Dispute Settlement and Compliance in IEL
  5. Protection of the Atmosphere
  6. Marine Environment
  7. Species, Habitat Protection and the Conservation of Biological Diversity

Background Reading (optional):

  • Chapter 1 of Birnie, Boyle and Redgwell, International Law and the Environment, Oxford University Press, 3rd edition (2009); or
  • Chapter 1 of Sands, Principles of International Environmental Law, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 3rd edition (2012); or
  • Chapters 1 and 2 of Bowman, Davies and Redgwell Lyster’s International Wildlife Law, Cambridge University Press, 2nd edition (2010); or
  • Redgwell, ‘International Environmental Law’ in M. Evans (ed), International Law, Oxford University Press, 3rd edition (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) Chapters 1-2 (general overview, and how international law is made) and chapter 7 (on the global environment).

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, once students have made their module selections upon enrolment in September.

Delivery and enrolment
Lectures/Seminars: 10 x 2-hour seminars
Tutorials: None
Previous module enrolments: Medium – 16-50 students
Who may enrol: LLM students, other UCL Masters students
Prerequisities: None, however background reading in public international law is recommended if not previously studied.
Barred module combinations: None
Core Module for LLM specialism: Environmental Law and Policy, International Law, Energy Law
Final Assessment: 2-hour unseen written examination
Practice Assessment: Opportunity for feedback on one optional 1500 word practice essay

This page was last updated on 30 July, 2014


The application process for the 2015-16 academic session is now open.

Please note, for the 2015-16 intake, we are not accepting the TOEFL test. If you have an English condition to meet, you must take one of the alternative tests listed here instead.