LL402E      Half Unit
Key Issues in Transnational Environmental Law

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Veerle Heyvaert NAB7.06


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

The course focuses on key developments in environmental law beyond the State, which includes both the European and international level. It examines the key values, legal principles and strategies that guide environmental policy and decision making. It considers the role and contribution of non-state actors, such as private green certification schemes, to environmental law. Then, the course turns the spotlight on the most important environmental challenges of our time and examines the role of transnational law in managing or resolving them. The course is structured as follows: 1. Environmental law in context: economic and alternative approaches to sustainable development. 2. Sources and principles of international environmental law. 3. Transnational environmental law: the role of non-state actors. 4. Transnational liability: responding to global catastrophes.  5. Controlling toxic substances: risk regulation and the precautionary principle. 6. Climate change: international law and policy developments. 7. Climate change litigation. 8. Protecting biodiversity: comparing treaty-based and market-based approaches. 9. Brexit and the impact on environmental law and policy 10. Trade and the environment. 11. Revision.


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

A detailed reading list will be provided for each seminar. Essential reference works include Heyvaert, Transnational Environmental Regulation and Governance. Purpose, Strategies, and Principles (CUP, 2018); Sands and Peel, Principles of International Environmental Law (CUP, 2018); Bodansky, The Art and Craft of International Environmental Law (Harvard University Press, 2010); Bodansky, Brunnee & Hey, The Oxford Handbook of International Environmental Law (OUP, 2007); Kingston, Heyvaert & Cavoski, European Environmental Law (CUP, 2017).


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

Assessment path 2
Take-home assessment (100%).

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills