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Environmental Law and Justice


Module description

This module provides a critical insight into environmental and public health protection law, analysing their evolution, aims and overarching principles.

The first part will introduce you to the notions of environmental justice, ecology and sustainable development. It will cut across legal systems and analyse different bodies of case law, providing an in-depth overview of different regulatory approaches and exploring their impact on individual rights and collective stakes.

The second part will take a closer look at the governance of environmental and public health risks. Shall uncertain risks be run as long as they have not been scientifically proved and established? How is the precautionary principle implemented in practice? How to balance technical expertise, public perception of risk, political sovereignty and democratic legitimacy? How is the transnational neo-liberal agenda impacting on consumer and environmental protection standards, and is it triggering a race to the bottom? Ultimately, what are the socio-economic implications of different regulatory models? These are some of the questions that you will critically assess throughout this module.

Indicative module syllabus

  • Environmental Law and Environmental Justice
  • Sustainable Development: the Environmental, Social and Economic Pillars
  • EU Environmental Law
  • WTO Law and the Protection of the Environment and Public Health
  • ‘The Ecology of Law’
  • Risk Regulation: ‘Sound’ Science and the Precautionary Principle
  • The Governance of Genetically Modified Organisms
  • The Regulation of Chemicals and Pesticides
  • Food Sovereignty, Food Safety, Food Quality

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of environmental and public health protection law
  • understand the content and implications of the relevant regulatory frameworks
  • analyse and understand case law in these fields
  • demonstrate enhanced legal research skills and problem analysis
  • demonstrate a critical understanding of different approaches to the governance of public health and environmental risks.