Module Identifier LAM1820  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Professor Lynda Warren  
Semester Intended for use in future years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
Other staff Mrs Marion I Arnold, Paul K Street  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   2 Hours Seminar. See timetable for times and rooms.  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Seminar Presentation:  20%
Semester Assessment Essay: one assessed essay of 5000 words  80%

Learning outcomes

The module will explore the achievements of the international community in this field and assess critically the effectiveness of the present system of international legal protection and control of the natural and human environment.

Brief description

Over the last twenty five years there has been an increasing acceptance of the need to have a co-ordinated response at the
international level to environmental problems and to ever-clearer threats to the existing global environment. International efforts
have evolved from traditional bilateral activity (e.g. state claims relating to cross-frontier environmental damage) towards the
working out of policy strategies for the enforcement of standards at both a regional and global level. In relation to some types
of environmental damage, of a more immediate and material nature, such as oil pollution, there are now detailed treaty rules.

On the other hand, longer-term threats to the global environment (e.g. climate change, depletion of natural resources) have only
recently been addressed with any seriousness by the international community, and here much remains at the level of rhetoric.
Underlying the whole subject is the tension between development needs (especially third world aspirations) and policies of
environmental protection, the latter being traditionally led by the more affluent countries.


1. General Principles of International Environmental Law

Sources of international law; environmental law as a means of addressing environmental questions; the evolution of rule-making
and standard-setting from bilateral to regional and global mechanisms; the principle international fora and agencies involved in
policy-making and standard setting; the problems of translating rhetoric and 'soft law' into enforceable standards; the choice
between international agencies of enforcement and delegation of enforcement to national authorities and procedures; arbitration
devices and the role of the International Court of Justice; the role of the International Court of Environmental Arbitration and

2. International Environmental Law after UNCED

UNCED including the Rio Declaration; the development of general concepts of environmental law, such as the common
heritage of mankind, sustainable development and intergenerational equity; the problem of balancing the needs of development
and those of environmental protection; the special problems of global commons and the so-called 'tragedy of the commons'.

3. Protecting the Global Commons

Special regimes have been established to regulate use of various global commons such as the atmosphere and the sea. Several of these regimes will be analysed to consider their history and effectiveness.

4. The Use of Natural Resources

It is now accepted that the international community has an interest in the conservation of natural resources whether these are in global commons or in state territory. Particular emphasis will be placed on the conservation of biodiversity.

5. Environmental Security

The impact of warfare on the environment; the environment as a potential issue for armed conflict.

Reading Lists

P W Birnie and A E Boyle (1992) International Law and the Environment - P Sands, Principles of International Environmental Law (Vol 1) Frameworks, OUP
(1995) Standards and Implementation - as the main recommended course book. Manchester UP


This module is at CQFW Level 7