Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Environmental Law

Course unit fact file
Unit code LAWS30101
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Law
Available as a free choice unit? No





  • to appreciate the legal, institutional and policy frameworks which structure and regulate decision-making concerning the environment
  • to investigate the role of law and regulation in securing environmental aims and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different regulatory mechanisms used in environmental law
  • to develop an understanding of environmental law and its impact through the use of case studies

Learning outcomes

  • to develop an understanding of the complex legal, institutional and policy contexts within which environmental protection goals are advanced at international through to local levels
  • to understand and critically evaluate the importance of sustainable development as an environmental policy goal
  • to understand the nature of regulatory change, using ecological modernisation as a theoretical framework
  • to critically evaluate the range of legal and regulatory mechanisms that can be used to secure environmental protection aims, drawing upon examples to illustrate
  • to explore, through the use of case studies, some key environmental challenges including climate change, the role of public participation in supporting new technology to tackle climate change, and the role of law in protecting species and habitats

Teaching and learning methods

There will be 30 lectures and 5 fortnightly seminars. The lectures will provide multiple opportunities for small group discussion and debate. On BB, you will have access to Adobe Spark learning bundles (they will also be available as word documents). These bundles will support and develop the material we cover in lectures and seminars. They will be useful in preparing for seminars, and in preparing for your assessment. These are videos to watch, materials to read and questions to consider.


Intellectual skills

  • to assemble relevant information and subject it to critical legal analysis- to engage in and cultivate reasoned legal and policy arguments
  • to develop research skills in a legal context

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Written feedback is provided on both formative and summative assessment


Recommended reading

There is no single textbook that covers the whole course. For this reason, detailed reading lists will be distributed prior to the classes. However, the following textbook provides a thorough overview of many aspects of environmental law and policy:

S.Bell, D.McGillivray, O. Pederson, E Lees and E Stokes, Environmental Law (OUP, 9th ed, 2017)

Students will find it useful to read the following, prior to the start of the lectures:

N. Gunningham, "Environmental Law, Regulation and Governance: Shifting Architectures" (2009) 21(2) Journal of Environmental Law 179

D. Cole, "Climate Change and Collective Action" (2009) 1 Current Legal Problems 229-264


Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Gary Lynch-Wood Unit coordinator
Carolyn Abbot Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Restricted to: LLB (Law); LLB (Law with Politics); LLB (Law with Politics) and LLB (Law with Criminology).

This course is available to incoming study abroad students. However, students MUST have some legal background to register. Pre-requisites: None.


Please see law school timetable

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