Not available in 2013/14
Law and The Environment

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Veerle Heyvaert NAB7.06


This course is available on the BA in Anthropology and Law, BSc in Environment and Development, BSc in Environmental Policy with Economics, BSc in International Relations and LLB in Laws. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

The aim of this course is to assess from an interdisciplinary perspective the role of UK law in the environmental field. The course also examines the strong influence of international and European law on the UK legal framework for environmental protection. I. General features of environmental law in the UK: The introductory sessions review theoretical and philosophical influences on the development of environmental principles and practices, and discuss the origins and development of environmental law in the UK. Further sessions focus on the concept of risk and precaution in environmental law, and analyse the domestic institutional framework. II. Controlling space This section reviews legal strategies for environmental protection through management of the built environment, parks and nature. It covers planning law, environmental impact assessment, and nature conservation law. III. Controlling climate change Studies international law and politics of climate change, the UK approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and discusses incentive-based regulation as a response to the climate change challenge IV. Controlling enterprise Section IV offers seminars on both process- and product-oriented regulation of enterprise. It also covers waste regulation, and investigates dynamics between international trade and regional environmental protection. V. Remedying environmental harm The final section examines the role of both case law and regulation in the remediation of environmental harm, paying attention to clean-up of contaminated land, common law and human rights based approaches to compensation, and legal responses to international environmental disasters.


20 hours of seminars in the MT. 20 hours of seminars in the LT. 4 hours of seminars in the ST.

Indicative reading

There is no set book that covers the entire course, however, several sessions use Bell & McGillivray, Environmental Law (7th edition, Blackstone Press, 2008). Holder & Lee, Environmental Protection, Law & Policy (CUP, 2007) is a good additional source. A detailed reading list is provided for each seminar. Materials that are not sourced from Bell & McGillivray or Holder & Lee are made available on Moodle. Useful introductory books include: Ashford & Caldart, Environmental Law, Policy and Economics, 2008; Lazarus, The Making of Environmental Law, 2004; Holder & McGillivray, Locality and Identity: Environmental Issues in Law and Society, 1999; Chertow & Esty, Thinking Ecologically. The next generation of environmental policy, 1997; Churchill, Warren & Gibson (Eds), Law, Policy and the Environment, 1991; R Carson, Silent Spring, 1962; R Eckersley, Environmentalism and Political Theory, 1992.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2012/13: 10

Average class size 2012/13: 12

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills