Legal Response to Environmental Destruction

Module titleLegal Response to Environmental Destruction
Module codeLAW3016C
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Mrs Kate Holtaway (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

The module seeks to develop understanding of the role that law has to play in the protection of the environment and responds to the cutting-edge environmental challenges facing the world today. You will be introduced to the legislation that governs issues that compromise environmental quality like water pollution, biotechnology, waste management and global warming.  The module extends thinking from local agendas to develop more sustainably, through to global strategies to combat environmental harm. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to introduce you to the various sectors of environmental law and policy, offering an overview of basic principles while considering national and international responses to managing global environmental issues.

The module seeks to provide you with a practical understanding of environmental law. You will observe how important law is in society and industry in promoting a low carbon footprint and managing environmental impact retrospectively. You will learn to think critically about the adequacy of current environmental protection from a legal perspective and consider how the law might be reformed in the future. You will also consider the increasing role of environmental considerations in project finance.

The modules aims to equip you with a broad understanding of environmental law and the issues that shape it, and will provide an essential foundation for any career that you might pursue in an environmental field.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. explain the main features of environmental legislation, policy and principles on a local, national and international basis;
  • 2. demonstrate an awareness of some of the current debates in environmental law and the role of law in resolving competing interests in the environmental issues;
  • 3. link theoretical understandings of environmental law with practical perspective, while developing your critical thinking through the construction and defence of legal reasoning;
  • 4. assess the future direction of law and policy in environmental decision making;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. assimilate and engage effectively with a range of primary and secondary legal resources in your legal writing and reasoning;
  • 6. critically appraise competing legal and non-legal arguments by explaining their respective merits;
  • 7. identify key issues in problem scenarios, analyse them logically and construct balanced arguments to resolve complex legal disputes;

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. understand and develop complex ideas and communicate them confidently and professionally in written and oral form;
  • 9. work independently and as a group ; and
  • 10. manage time efficiently and reflect on areas of performance where further learning and development might be necessary.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

While the module’s precise content may vary each year, it is envisaged that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Introduction to international, EU and UK environmental law

  • Contaminated land

  • Climate change

  • Water Pollution

  • Waste Management

  • Planning

  • Private law

  • Project finance and the environment


Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activity2211 x 2 hour lectures
Guided Independent Study128A variety of private study tasks directed by module leader. These tasks may include: • Reading textbooks, journals and other literature • Preparation for lectures by for example answering questions in advance of group discussions or preparing group presentations • Preparation for and completion of examination • Essay preparation: conducting research, and writing the finished product


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Lecture assignmentsScheduled group presentations1-10Peer and tutor feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay on a choice of questions set by module convenor502,000 words1-10Written feedback on work coversheet with oral feedback available on request
Examination - 3 questions will be answered out of a choice of 6 and copies of legislation will be permitted 502 hours and 15 minutes1-10Written feedback on exam script


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay (2,000 words)Essay (2,000 words)1-10August Referral/Deferral Period
Examination (2 hrs 15 mins)Examination (2 hrs 15 mins)1-10August Referral/Deferral Period


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Bell and McGillivray, Environmental Law, (8th Edition, 2013), Oxford
  • Fisher, Lange, Scotford Environmental Law: Text, Cases, and Materials (Oxford University Press, 2013)
  • Wolf, F and Stanley, N, Wolf and Stanley on Environmental Law, (6th edition, 2014), Routledge
  • Finch and Fafinski, Legal Skills, OUP (3rd Edition, 2011).  The textbook explains how to find legal resources from statutes to cases and includes tips on legal writing.
  • Kramer, EC Environmental Law, Sweet and Maxwell (2006)
  • Cownie, Bradney and Burton, English Legal System in Context (5th Edition, 2010), OUP, Oxford
  • Partington, M, Introduction to the English Legal System (8th Edition, 2013) OUP Oxford

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Environmental law, legislation, environmental impact, low carbon, protection, global warming

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date