International Environmental Law

The details
Essex Law School
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
02 July 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

There is no planet B. We must live within the resources of this one planet and the evidence shows that we are facing a triple planetary crisis of global pollution, climate change and rapid biodiversity loss. We will explore these types of issues in this module, which focuses on the international legal and governance mechanisms concerning the environment.

It examines key principles under international law related to the environment, such as sustainable development and precaution. It then goes on to consider salient aspects of international environmental law as it applies to specific regimes such as those related to climate change, biodiversity protection, freshwater management, energy, the management of hazardous waste and human rights. The list of topics covered may vary year on year.

Throughout the module it will introduce students to the structural dimensions of existing international environmental law that have resulted from North-South relations and provides students with a basis upon which consideration can be given to the related issues of equity, common but differentiated responsibility and environmental justice.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To provide students with an understanding of the way that international institutions work to manage and govern the environment.

  • To develop an in-depth understanding of the general principles of international environmental law and sustainable development.

  • To introduce students to different areas of environmental law such as biodiversity management and climate change.

  • To enable students to appreciate the North-South dimensions of international environmental law and the relationship that it has with equity, common but differentiated responsibility and environmental justice.

Module learning outcomes

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

  1. Identify the key principles, actors and institutions relevant to international environmental law.

  2. Understand the sources of international environmental law.

  3. Critically analyse the key principles and laws including their application to specific areas such as climate change, biodiversity, hazardous waste, and human rights.

Module information

An indicative list of potential topics is as follows:

  • Historical development of international environmental law and its main sources of law

  • Climate change

  • Biodiversity protection

  • Freshwater management

  • Sustainable energy

  • The management of hazardous wastes

  • Environmental human rights

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • One 2-hour lecture per week
  • One 1-hour tutorial per week

Students are expected to undertake the reading before classes and be prepared to engage in discussion.

Students are expected to prepare and deliver one ten-minute presentation towards the end of the module.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting

Additional coursework information

The coursework comprises and is assessed by:

  • A presentation (20%)
  • An essay (80%).

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Godswill Agbaitoro, email: g.agbaitoro@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Godswill Agbaitoro
The Law Education Admin Team - lawschoolug@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Avidan Kent
University of East Anglia
Associate Professor
Available via Moodle
Of 596 hours, 3 (0.5%) hours available to students:
586 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
7 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Essex Law School

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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