LAW-30128 - Contemporary Issues in Environmental Law
Coordinator: Emma Allen Room: CBC2.005 Tel: +44 1782 7 34512
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 6
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 733218

Programme/Approved Electives for 2023/24


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2023/24

This module is designed to introduce you to certain topical issues in environmental law, an up-and-coming area in an age of increasing concern over the footprint humans are leaving on the planet. It is intended to be freestanding and neither assumes nor depends upon any existing knowledge of the subject.
After examining the nature and sources of environmental law at the domestic, regional and international levels and identifying certain overarching environmental principles, the module turns to consider a number of substantive topical issues. These may include (but are not limited to): climate change; environmental crime; environmental litigation; corporate environmental responsibility/impunity; biodiversity, species protection and animal welfare; the right to a healthy environment; and the environmental impacts of COVID-19. The approach taken means that there is some flexibility in the syllabus and the topical issues covered may change from time to time.
This module is unique in that it is the first in the Law School to have been designed in partnership with students and there will be opportunities to engage in further partnership working each time it unfolds. For instance, you will be provided with a choice of topics for part of the module, to be negotiated by a democratic process, and you will be able, should you wish, to design the legal policy brief question on which you will be assessed.

The aim of this module is to critically consider the role played by law in tackling some of the most pressing environmental issues of our time.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Evaluate the operation of environmental law at the domestic, regional and international levels: 1,2
Critically appraise substantive topical issues of environmental law studied on the module: 1,2
Identify and explain the various successes and shortcomings of environmental law: 1,2
Anticipate future directions in environmental law: 1,2
Communicate in writing on environmental law in a clear, logically structured way that synthesises arguments from a range of primary and secondary sources: 1,2

Study hours

Seminars: 15 hours
Seminar Preparation: 65 hours
Online Test Preparation: 25 hours
Legal Policy Brief Preparation: 45 hours

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Online Tasks weighted 40%
Online Test
Students will be asked to complete an online test at the end of the semester (comprising multiple choice and short answer questions) on the module content. The expectation is that they will demonstrate a clear and critical understanding of the issues raised. The time available to complete the test and to submit it electronically is 28 hours ¿ from 9am (local time) on the first working day until 1pm (local time) on the second working day. However, students are not expected to invest more than 8 hours of active working time on the test. The word limit is 1000 words.

2: Assignment weighted 60%
Legal Policy Brief
Students will produce a legal policy brief (a key tool used to present research and recommendations to a non-specialised audience) on an environmental issue encountered in the module. Guidance for writing the brief will be provided and students will have the opportunity to read a couple of exemplars from previous years¿ cohorts, discussing them in class with their peers before drafting anything themselves. The word limit is 2000 words.