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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: Global Environmental Law (LAWS10168)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryIn order to understand environmental law in today's world, it is indispensable to broaden the perspectives far beyond the national legal orders. Natural resources are interconnected and so are national markets. Therefore, the level of environmental protection ensured in one's territory does not depend solely on national law anymore. In practice, the level of protection is determined by the interactions between international, European and national environmental laws as well as by the interactions between environmental, trade and human right laws. This course will give students the opportunity to understand how these interactions influence the ambition and the effectiveness of environmental and health protection, using the concept of 'global environmental law' as the point of entry.

The concept of global environmental law refers to 'a field of law that is international, national and transnational in character all at once' (R.V. Percival, T. Yang). In order to grasp this concept and its manifestations, EU environmental law will be used as a starting point throughout the semester. Indeed, it perfectly exemplifies the dependence, cross-fertilisations and conflicts between national, regional and international levels as well as between environmental law and other branches of law - trade, development, investment, agriculture, and human rights which also have a huge impact on the level of environmental protection.

By studying the national and international significance of EU environmental law, students will acquire a concrete grip on the 'Global Environmental Law' concept, which encompasses the most interesting and the most recent evolutions of environmental law.
Course description By studying the national and international significance of EU environmental law, students will acquire a concrete grip on the 'Global Environmental Law' concept, which encompasses the most interesting and the most recent evolutions of environmental law. To do so, the course will first explore the actors of global environmental law. It will then analyse the sources of global environmental law. The multitude of sources will logically lead us to assess the coherence of global environmental law. Finally, the last seminars will be dedicated to the evaluation of the biggest challenge faced by global environmental law today: the reduction of the compliance gap.

All these issues will be analysed through case studies unveiling major pieces of EU and International environmental law. The Case studies will cover the right to a healthy environment, the Climate regime at International and EU level, the regulation of genetically modified organism, of dangerous chemical as well as the protection of biodiversity.

In addition to the course organiser, guest practitioners and academics will teach some seminars and therefore bring their experience to the class.

The course is taught by means of seminars. Reading lists are supplied for each seminar in a separate handout, which will be made available in advance of the seminar. At each seminar the course organiser will make a brief presentation on the topic which will then be followed by a general discussion or smaller group exercises. Each week students will be called upon to discuss particular issues covered in the reading list. All students are expected to participate in the discussion.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: European Union Law A Ordinary (LAWS08116) OR European Union Law (Ordinary) A (LAWS08125)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesPrevious knowledge of EU and International Law
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Gained an understanding of the multifaceted powers and resources of the EU in the field of environmental protection, as well as an understanding of persistent and emerging challenges in achieving global sustainable development; developed awareness of the potential and actual tensions between environmental and other areas of law, as well as the interactions between national, EU and international environmental law; and gained an understanding of the concept of Global environmental law, of its manifestations and of its potential academic and practical applications.
  2. Find, require and assess relevant informaiton on EU policies; build a state-of-the-art academic literature on a given topic; write case notes, briefs and opinion reports applying critical analysis, evaluation, and synthesis to issues which are at the forefront of a subject/discipline; and master the legal tools available to influence the public decision-making process.
  3. Develop original and creative responses to problems and issues; deal with complex issues and make informed judgements in situations in the absence of complete or consistent data/information; develop the capacity to engage with a holistic assessment of complex policies, including by identifying synergies and conflicts between implemented actions; and identify the need for and engage with interdisciplinary cooperation to create and implement effective public policies.
  4. Communicate with peers, more senior colleagues, and specialists; participate in brainstorming and contribute to collective reflections on issue-solving; and understand a broad variety of sources.
  5. Develop ability to work independetly under fixed deadlines; to lead and participate in collective reflection on issue solving; to develop assertiveness with peers and supervising staff; to participate effectively in seminars and discussions; and to develop their ability to present the outcome of independent research in a clear written and oral form.
Reading List
Yang T., Percival R. 'The emergence of Global Environmental Law' 36.3 Ecology Law Quarterly (2009).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsGlobal Environmental Law
Course organiserDr Apolline Roger
Course secretaryMrs Heather Haig
Tel: (0131 6)50 2053
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