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Unit information: Environmental Law in 2021/22

Unit name Environmental Law
Unit code LAWDM0013
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Pieraccini
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit explores the foundations of environmental law by critically examining key environmental concepts, institutions and regulatory approaches to protect the environment and promote sustainable development. Topics studied include sustainable development and environmental principles, direct (command and conrol) regulation and alternatives, adaptive management of natural resources and the role of different actors (from regulators, to NGOs to the Courts) in environmental decision-making. Selected environmental sectors, including climate change and biodiversity law, are analysed to provide concrete examples of the ways in which the various principles and approaches are operationed. Adopting a multi-level governance perspective, examples are provided from international law, EU law and domestic law. A law-in-context approach will be endorsed reflecting on how
the law is shaped and is shaping policy, politics and contributing to environmental justice.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit, students are expected to:

  1. Critically identify and understand environmental law conceptsw, principles and approaches;
  2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the different styles of regulation used in environmental
  3. Demonstrate a law-in-context understanding environmental regulation;
  4. Demonstrate the capacity for in-depth critical analysis of legal provisions related to selected sectors under study

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a variety of asynchronous and synchronous activities

Assessment Details

2 x summative assessments: 2 x coursework with a specified word count (50% each).

The assessments will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.

Reading and References

A list of topic specific journal articles and book chapters will be provided in the Unit Guide.

In addition, the recommended textbook is:

  • Bell et al, Enviromental Law (OUP 2017),
  • Fisher, et al., Environmental Law (OUP 2019)