Environmental Law

Module code: M3102
Level 6
15 credits in autumn teaching
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Essay

Can law protect the environment?

This module introduces you to the role of law in decision-making processes which affect environmental quality and the use and conservation of natural resources.

You will gain an understanding of the role of law at national, EU and international levels. You also look at what makes environmental problems distinctive and key issues such as: how can we set legal standards for the environment?

Can we tell industry or individuals what to do, or should we incentivise behaviour by using economic tools or by disclosing information? Should we criminalise environmentally harmful behaviour or should we try to work with polluters to clean up and prevent problems in the future?

What rights do we, or future generations, or perhaps even the environment itself, have in relation to the environment? How far should we make those responsible for environmental harm pay for this? What role should the courts play in the development of environmental law?

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate an ability to identify and evaluate some of the main currents in environmental decision-making, and of the role generally that law plays in the construction, regulation and resolution of disputes in relation to this
  • Critically discuss the central tensions, and principal debates, in relation to environmental regulation and the relative strength of competing approaches towards regulation, comparing and contrasting approaches
  • Analyse the relationship between environmental law and the policy objectives that it seeks to implement and gain the capacity to evaluate particular legal provisions in relation to underlying policy goals
  • Identify and evaluate the principal law-making and dispute resolution bodies and agencies in environmental law, and their respective roles, legal powers and duties, and operation in practice