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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LAW3133 Environmental Law

20 creditsClass Size: 120

Module manager: Dr Carrie Bradshaw

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is mutually exclusive with

LAW3132Law and the Environment II: Governing the Environment

Module replaces

LAW3131 Law and the Environment I: Pollution Control

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Environmental problems – a warming planet, growing rubbish piles, the destruction of habitats – are amongst the most complex faced by today’s societies. These problems also pose multiple challenges for legal control and regulation. Ecosystems are understood only subject to significant scientific uncertainty, whereas environmental impacts cross jurisdictional and disciplinary boundaries. How does the law respond to these challenges? This module explores the struggle to tackle environmental problems through a variety of forms of environmental law, regulation and governance.Whether you are a committed environmentalist, a climate sceptic, or perhaps more in the middle, studying the use of law to tackle pressing social, economic and environmental challenges should be of universal appeal. For these and other reasons, this is a popular module that students find enjoyable and challenging, irrespective of their commitment to environmental protection. We think critically about, and actively debate, what law can achieve (and what it can’t) in the face of complex global problems. Understanding the limitations of legal control also leads us to consider the role of a range of government and non-government actors - from corporations, to lawyers, to activists, and even ourselves as consumers and citizens - in seeking solutions to problems like air pollution, climate change, waste, and land use.


By the end of this module, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the nature of environmental problems, and the challenges they pose for law and regulation in the UK.

Learning outcomes
By the end of the module, students should be able to:

- Explain the complex nature of environmental problems and critically evaluate the challenges they pose for law, regulation and governance.
- Describe and critically evaluate the role of EU, national and devolved jurisdictions and a variety of governmental and non-governmental actors in addressing environmental problems.
- Critically evaluate the legal responses to a range of specific environmental problems, such as climate change, waste, and nature conservation.


Potential topics include:
Understanding environmental problems
Regulatory strategy
Environmental governance
The environment and the courts
Environmental liability
Air pollution and climate change
Habitats and nature conservation

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours171.00
Total Contact hours29.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

The School is committed to providing an excellent student education and experience. This will involve a variety of teaching methods and follow a blended learning model, including meaningful on-campus in-person teaching for all students. Further information regarding the lecture breakdown will follow.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Participatory interactions in lectures and seminars.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 2,750-word essay100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 21/09/2022


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