LL420E      Half Unit
International Law and Climate Change

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Stephen Humphreys NAB6.15


This course is available on the Executive LLM. This course is not available as an outside option.

This course will be offered on the Executive LLM during the four year degree period. The Department of Law will not offer all Executive LLM courses every year, although some of the more popular courses may be offered in each year, or more than once each year. Please note that whilst it is the Department of Law's intention to offer all Executive LLM courses, its ability to do so will depend on the availability of the staff member in question. For more information please refer to the Department of Law website.

Course content

This course covers the international law dealing with climate change with a view to assessing how risks and uncertainties caused by climate change are governed and allocated in different legal regimes. The course adopts the stance that the political and legal questions raised by climate change cannot be addressed by reference to climate change law (or indeed international environmental law) alone. Climate change gives rise to a series of profound problems touching upon a range of bodies of law (international economic law, human rights law, state responsibility, international migration law) in a complex political and ethical environment. In approaching climate change as a concrete concern relevant to these various bodies of law and practice, the course will address the normative and/or ethical bases for choosing between actions designed to prevent and/or manage climate change and its consequences, attentive to developmental imperatives and the theoretical concerns raised by the 'fragmented' nature of international law


24-26 hours of contact time.

Formative coursework

Students will have the option of producing a formative exam question of 2000 words to be delivered one month from the end of the module’s teaching session by email.

Indicative reading

Paul Edwards, A Vast Machine, MIT Press (2013); Tim Mitchell, Carbon Democracy, Verso (2011); Rosemary Rayfuse and Shirley Scott (eds.), Climate Change and International Law, Edward Elgar (2011) Stephen Gardiner, Simon Caney, Dale Jamieson and Henry Shue (Eds.), Climate Ethics: Essential Readings, Oxford University Press (2010); Patricia Birnie, Alan Boyle, Catherine Redgwell, International Law and the Environment, Oxford University Press (2009); Nicholas Stern, The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2007); IPCC, Fifth Assessment Report, Cambridge University Press (2014); Stephen Humphreys (ed.), Climate Change and Human Rights, Cambridge University Press (2009); Larry Lohmann, Carbon Trading, Dag Hammerskjöld Foundation (2006); Lavanya Rajamani, Differential Treatment in International Environmental Law, Oxford University Press (2006).


Assessment path 1
Essay (100%, 8000 words).

Assessment path 2
Take home exam (100%).

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2018/19: Unavailable

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills