Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Distance Learning

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Other Private study on DL units; Preparation and submission of written assignment; Additional research and private study


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Module Assessment  Written Assignment of 5,000 words  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge and understanding of the theoretical basis of this area of human rights protection.

2. Display a detailed understanding of legislative frameworks of the right to a healthy environment at international, regional and national levels.

3. Critically analyse and evaluate the effect of this right on the protection of the environment and on the commercial, social, health and cultural interests of diverse communities.

4. Critically analyse and evaluate the effectiveness of implementation and enforcement mechanisms in the context of both economically developed and developing countries.

5. Access the relevant literature and materials in this field and use them to engage in a critical discussion of the subject.

Brief description

The module will enable students to understand the rationale for, and scope of, the right to a healthy environment, and to develop a critical appreciation of legal responses, at the international, regional and national levels. It is an area of study with contemporary significance and an increasing amount of legal activity that is of practical relevance to potential students already working in certain areas (for instance, government departments, certain business organizations, and non-governmental organizations) and for whom the format of distance learning is for various reasons a preferred option.

The module will begin with the theoretical aspects by introducing students to the various schools of thought on the emergence or otherwise of a new right to a healthy environment. This discourse will be situated within the context of sustainable development in light of global environmental challenges, with critical analysis of the linkages between more traditional human rights (such as the right to life) and the right to a healthy environment. Attention will then be paid to various international law principles, particularly in respect of environmental law, which have implications for the development and scope of this right such as inter/intra-generational equity, public participation, the precautionary principle, equitable sharing, permanent sovereignty over natural resources and the duty not to cause harm to areas beyond national jurisdiction. It will then look at the various legal instruments, including soft law instruments, and judicial decisions through which this right has been introduced at the international, regional and national levels.


1. Introduction to the rationale for, and development of, the right to a healthy environment.

2. International environmental law principles and implication for the development and scope of the right.

3. International instruments (hard and soft law) and the right to a healthy environment.

4. EU and other regional frameworks on the right to a healthy environment.

5. Environment and human rights in selected national and international regimes.


This module is at CQFW Level 7