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International environmental law

Module information>

Academic Direction
UCL, Queen Mary University of London
Modes of Study

International Environmental Law is one of the most interesting and developing areas of Public International Law. It was only in the 1970s and 80s that states started to understand that the environment requires protection, that oceans should not be polluted, that species are declining. You will learn about the development of environmental law from this point onwards in this course. International Environmental Law is a highly topical area, reflected in the world news. We will deal with the legal implications of certain environmental actions, in the context of International Law generally as well as International Environmental Law. Related case law of international courts and tribunals are also important in this topic. This is a very extensive course, examining all the possible angles and new developments, aiming to enhance your understanding of the importance of international environmental regulations.

Module A: General aspects of international environmental law 1


  • Introduction
  • Development and sources of international environmental law
  • Jurisdictional and institutional aspects of environmental governance
  • General principles of international environmental law
  • Sustainable development

Module B: General aspects of international environmental law 2


  • State responsibility for environmental damage
  • Civil liability regimes
  • Environmental dispute resolution
  • Human right and the environment

Module C: Particular subjects of international environmental law I


  • Protection of the marine environment
  • General principles of conservation and biological diversity
  • Management of hazardous substances and wastes
  • Climate change protection
  • Protection of the ozone layer

Module D: Particular subjects of international environmental law II


  • Trade and environment
  • Financial resources, technology and intellectual property
  • War and armed conflict in relation to the environment
  • Nuclear energy and the environment
  • Freshwater resources
  • Transboundary air pollution
  • Polar regions


Each module will be assessed by a 45-minute unseen written examination.


It is strongly recommended you take these modules in order.

How to apply

You can apply to study a module individually as a standalone unit or as part of a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Master of Laws qualification. (In either scenario, they must be studied in order.)

These modules also contribute towards the following specialist pathways for Laws:

  • Environmental and Natural Resources Law
  • Law and Development
  • Public International Law

Apply via Postgraduate Laws.