LL402E      Half Unit
Key Issues in Transnational Environmental Law

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Veerle Heyvaert CKK.5.08


This course is available on the Executive Master of Laws (ELLM). This course is not available as an outside option.

Available to Executive LLM students only. This course will be offered on the Executive LLM during the four year degree period. The Law School 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 Law School'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 Law School 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 liability: responding to global catastrophes. 4.  Transnational environmental law: the role of non-state actors 5. Protecting biodiversity: comparing treaty-based and market-based approaches. 6. Protecting biodiversity: the rise of rights of nature 7. Climate change: international law and policy developments.8. Climate change litigation.9. De-transnationalisation? Brexit and the impact on UK 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%).

Key facts

Department: Law School

Total students 2022/23: Unavailable

Average class size 2022/23: Unavailable

Controlled access 2022/23: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

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