SOAS University of London

School of Law

International Environmental Law I: Principles, Institutions & Enforcement

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Taught in:
Term 1

This module introduces the foundations of international environmental law, including its subjects, sources, principles and measures of implementation, compliance and dispute settlement. It explores the range of laws and norms that impact on global environmental problems. This module is built around the understanding that international environmental law is about both conservation and use (captured in the notion of sustainable development). It is also structured around an understanding that it is the North-South dimension of environmental issues that explains a large part of existing international environmental law


2 hours of Lectures

Scope and syllabus

The module covers, for instance:

  • principles of international environmental law (such as the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and the precautionary principle),
  • environmental justice (human rights, participatory rights); and
  • questions related to compliance, effectiveness and the enforcement of international environmental law, including non-compliance mechanisms.

Method of assessment

  • Coursework (book review) - 1000 words - 30%
  • Coursework (essay) - 3000 words - 70%

Suggested reading

  • Shawkat Alam et al. eds, International Environmental Law and the Global South (Cambridge University Press, 2015).
  • Pierre-Marie Dupuy & Jorge E. Viñuales, International Environmental Law (Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed 2018).
  • Ellen Hey, Advanced Introduction to International Environmental Law (Edward Elgar, 2016).
  • James R. May and Erin Daly, Global Environmental Constitutionalism (Cambridge University Press, 2015) 
  • Philippe Sands & Jacqueline Peel, Principles of International Environmental Law (Cambridge University Press, 4th ed. 2018).
  • Stephen Turner et al. eds, Environmental Rights – The Development of Standards (Cambridge University Press, 2019).


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules