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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Introduction to International Environmental Law (LAWS11422)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course explores the institutions, rules, and principles concerning the protection of the environment at the international level. The course is designed as an introductory course in order to develop students┐ knowledge of the key sources of international environmental law, their understanding of some of the most important treaties in this field, and an awareness of the challenges associated with the development and enforcement of international environmental law.
Course description Provisional Seminar Outline:

1) Sources of international environmental law and environmental regimes
2) Customary international law relating to the prevention of transboundary harm
3) A precautionary approach to the prevention of pollution
4) Biodiversity and nature conservation in international law
5) Public participation and environmental democracy
6) Dispute settlement and compliance in environmental treaties
7) Human rights and the environment
8) State responsibility for environmental harm
9) The polluter pays principle and civil liability regimes
10) Global environmental governance and future directions in international environmental law
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  34
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Formative Assessment:

Students will be able to submit a practice contribution to the class wiki (in week 2) prior to assessment of the wiki commencing.

Summative Assessment:

1) Contribution to Class Wiki (30%)

Students will be asked to contribute up to 300 words (from week 3 to week 7) to the class wiki. Contributions should explain and evaluate specified treaty provisions or judgments relevant to the topic of the seminar. A mark on a 10 point scale (see Course Guide) will be given for each week, with the total mark for the assessment being the average of the best four marks.

2) 3500 Word Written Assignment (70%)

The written assignment will allow students to explore in more depth the governance challenges relating to one particular issue dealt with in seminars 5-10.
Feedback Feedback on the formative assessment will be provided mid-semester.

Written feedback on the summative assessment will be provided via Learn, the University of Edinburgh's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Critically discuss the emergence and development of key sources of international environmental law, namely customary international law, treaties, and general principles;
  2. Understand and evaluate the main types of legal rules utilised in the context of environmental protection, in particular in treaties relating to the prevention of pollution and the conservation of biological diversity;
  3. Understand and evaluate the methods for promoting compliance with international environmental rules;
  4. Identify key gaps and weaknesses of international environmental law and critically discuss options for reform.
Reading List
The main textbook used for this course will be P Birnie, A Boyle and C Redgwell, International Law and the Environment (3rd edition, Oxford University Press 2009).

Multiple copies are available on reserve in the Law Library.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills On completion of this course the student will be able to:

- Find and contextualise key materials relating to international environmental law;
- Critically evaluate the relevant legal documents, including both treaties and judgments of international courts and tribunals;
- Explain key concepts relating to international environmental law;
- Participate in debates about the effectiveness and challenges of international environmental regulation;
- Work by themselves in order to complete assignments;
- Manage their time in order to complete assignments within set deadlines.

KeywordsInternational,Environmental,Level 11,Postgraduate,Environment
Course organiserDr James Harrison
Tel: (0131 6)50 2040
Course secretaryMiss Chloe Culross
Tel: (0131 6)50 9588
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