UCL Faculty of Laws


International and Global Environmental Law (LAWS0057)

This module will investigate environmental law in a global context, examining the main principles, instruments and approaches of international and global law that address environmental challenges.

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This module will explore the range of laws and norms that impact on global environmental problems. There are diverse bodies of environmental law that regulate and affect environmental law problems globally, including classic forms of public international law and increasingly transnational, regional and networked bodies of environmental norms. The module will explore these different kinds of law and how they have developed in an environmental context.

We will explore this rich global legal landscape through a number of case studies. These will vary from year to year, but could include topics such as international water law, space law, climate governance, and access to justice in relation to environmental matters. It will also consider the emerging role of environmental principles, such as the precautionary principle and polluter pays principle, as a phenomenon of transnational environmental law.

The module will conclude by considering the impact of international environmental norms in domestic legal regimes, focusing on their roles in domestic courts.

This module is subject to change.

Recommended materials

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

Preliminary reading

Background reading (optional):

One of:

  • 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, 4th edition (2018); or
  • Chapters 1 and 2 of Bowman, Davies and Redgwell, Lyster’s International Wildlife Law, Cambridge University Press, 2nd edition (2010).

And one of:

  • Paul Schiff Berman, 'From International Law to Law and Globalisation' (2005) 43 Column J Columbia Journal of Transnational Law 485; or
  • Thijs Etty, Veerle Heyyaert, Cinnamon Carlane, Daniel Farber, Jolene Lin and Joanne Scott, 'Norms, Networks, and Markets: Navigation New Frontiers in Transnational Environmental Law' (2013) 2(2) Transnational Environmental Law 203.

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).

Key information

Module details
Credit value:15 credits (7.5 ECTS, 150 learning hours)
Convenor:Eloise Scotford;
Steven Vaughan
Other Teachers:Philippe Sands
Gracia Marin-Duran
Martins Paparinskis
Teaching Delivery:10 x 2-hour weekly seminars, Term One
Who may enrol:Any UCL Master’s student
Must not be taken with:None
Qualifying module for:LLM in Environmental Law and Policy
LLM in International Law
Practice Assessment:Opportunity for feedback on one in-class mock exam
Final Assessment:Exam (100%)