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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: International Waste Law (LAWS11479)

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 provides a comprehensive understanding of transnational, European and domestic waste law. What are the rules, institutions, and principles governing the transboundary movement of waste? This course consolidates students¿ prior knowledge of the international legal structure by focusing on the overlapping regimes and jurisdictions governing waste as a global legal category.
Course description The course covers rules and institutions regulating the production, the reduction, the (re)distribution, and reintegration of waste into global circuits. The course covers recyclable, hazardous, nuclear, shipping, and land-based wastes, constructed as legally specialized categories. Special attention will be given to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes, its latest amendments, EU regulations, and recent reforms regulating and mitigating waste & plastic waste flows.

Analytically, the course covers the complexities and ambiguities regarding legal qualifications of wastes, as they relate to environmental stringency asymmetries between States. The course also confronts the regulatory challenges of accurately monitoring and mitigating environmental load displacement.

Finally, the course develops a comparative legal perspective on international environmental waste law. What are the convergences and divergences of international waste law with trade law, investment law, human rights law, and other branches of international law?
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  25
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, 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) This course is assessed by the following assessment components:

1) Presentation to class (20%);
2) Written submission of a legal commentary on a treaty provision or a judgment relevant to the topic of a seminar (30%; 2,500 words);
3) Essay (50%; 3,500 words).
Feedback Students will receive feedback on one non-graded oral presentation and one written draft of their commentary on an assigned text.

Feedback on the formative assessment may be provided in various formats, for example, to include written, oral, video, face-to-face, whole class, or individual. The course organiser will decide which format is most appropriate in relation to the nature of the assessment.

Feedback on both formative and summative in-course assessed work will be provided in time to be of use in subsequent assessments within the course.

Feedback on the summative assessment will be provided in written form 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. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the principles and regimes, and current issues of international waste law (oral + written assessment).
  2. Write rigorous legal analysis based on a critical understanding of international waste law (written assessment).
  3. Perfect oral communication skills by fully engaging in seminar discussions (based on prior compulsory reading) and presenting in front of classmates (oral assessment).
  4. Exercise academic autonomy and time management (deliver assessments according to deadlines).
  5. Demonstrate a knowledge of the hierarchy of sources using primary and secondary materials, and demonstrate the ability to articulate their meaning (oral + written).
Reading List
Core case law and treaties will be available from online databases.


Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, 1673 UNTS 126 1989


Armiero, Marco. Wasteocene: Stories from the Global Dump, CUP, 2021.
De Sadeleer, Nicolas. Environmental principles: from political slogans to legal rules. OUP, 2020.
French,Duncan & Louis J. Kotzé. Research Handbook on Law, Governance and Planetary Boundaries. Edward Elgar, 2021.


Selected articles in the Journal of Environmental Law.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Knowledge and Understanding:
- A knowledge of the rules, institutions, and principles governing transboundary waste law;
- An understanding of the importance of sound waste management practices in protecting the environment;
- Developed a critical understanding of environmental practices through the legal category of ¿waste¿.

Graduate Attributes: Skills and abilities in Research and Enquiry:
- Experience of identifying the key legal issues on transboundary waste law and the environment, and interpreting the key legal sources relevant to them;
- Experience of the legal techniques used to mitigate transboundary waste pollution and protect the environment.

Graduate Attributes: Skills and abilities in Personal and Intellectual Autonomy:
- Critical legal skills and awareness of sustainability issues;
- Opportunities to take initiatives on campus in developing awareness of growing waste production;
- Experience of working across disciplines.

Graduate Attributes: Skills and abilities in Communication:
- Experience of synthesizing readings, articulating concepts and legal techniques;
- Experience of team building and delivering oral presentations;
- Experience of defending and articulating complex ideas and arguments in legal writing.

Graduate Attributes: Skills and abilities in Personal Effectiveness:
- Experience of working with students from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds through teamwork and negotiation;
- Experience of effective time management to achieve pre-established goals.

Technical/practical skills:
- Experience of analysing transboundary waste management norms and techniques.
KeywordsLLM,International,Waste Law,Law,Environmental Law,Level 11,Postgraduate
Course organiserDr Michael Picard
Course secretaryMiss Chloe Culross
Tel: (0131 6)50 9588
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