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2024/25 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

LAW5355M Environmental Law

15 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Carrie Bradshaw

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

Module replaces

LAW5811M Environmental Law – international permit-based control of pollution

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module explores the complex relationship between environmental protection, business regulation, and justice, and the success and failures of legal responses to these complexities.


Environmental law is as much a ‘social’ and ‘economic’ project as an ‘ecological’ one, with implications for social and business relations in the broader economy: environmental ‘goods’ and ‘bads’ (such as clean/polluted air and water) may be distributed unequally; corporations can be viewed as both part of the problem and part of the solution to environmental protection; and limits are placed on access to environmental justice. We will explore the tensions between anthropocentric and ecological approaches to conceptualising and protecting our natural environment exhibited in approaches to environmental regulation and governance, using core theoretical approaches to asses central legal concepts and interventions and their relationship with economic development, social development and environmental protection. This includes critiquing the shift to new governance techniques actively enrolling private actors into environmental regulation; global (and corporate) commitments to ‘sustainable development’; the limitations of rights in and of nature (are environmental rights human rights; should trees have standing?); and the barriers to accessing environmental justice. We will also explore the role of different actors and communities in supporting, shaping and experiencing environmental and social justice, including nation states, corporations, NGOs, activists, women and indigenous people.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following learning outcomes relevant to the subject:
1. Synthesise and critically evaluate core theoretical debates within environmental law, regulation and justice.
2. Critically evaluate core legal mechanisms within environmental law and their relationship with business regulation and environmental justice.
3. Critically evaluate the role of, and challenges for, various actors (including states, corporations, NGOs, citizens and communities) in environmental law.

Skills Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following skills learning outcomes:
Ability to find, evaluate and use primary and secondary sources to make clear arguments and conclusions supported by appropriate authority
Ability to apply critical thinking skills
Ability to communicate in a clear, concise, focused and structured manner
The ability to plan time, prioritise tasks and work efficiently and productively and to manage your time well in order to meet deadlines


Details of the syllabus will be provided on the Minerva organisation (or equivalent) for the module

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours134.50
Total Contact hours15.50
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

A formal formative assessment opportunity will be provided, which is specifically pedagogically aligned to the summative assessment task. As part of this, each student will receive individual feedback designed to support the development of knowledge and skills that will be later assessed in the summative assessment.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
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: 27/03/2024


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