Biodiversity, Nature and Wildlife Law and Policy

Key information

Module not running
Module code
FHEQ Level
School of Law, Gender and Media

Module overview

Please note this module is not running in 2023/24

This module is concerned in the broadest sense with nature protection and concerns around the sixth mass extinction.

It addresses specifically law and policy around the broad themes of biodiversity, wildlife & habitats. It examines theoretical and practical dimensions of international and national legal and institutional arrangements concerning some of the most crucial environmental issues of our time.

This includes the various dimensions of the biodiversity regime, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, its protocols, related legal instruments and related developments at the national level. These cover a wide variety of issues ranging from conservation and use of biodiversity in general to specific implementation mechanisms like ‘access and benefit sharing’, measures addressing environmental safety in the context of the release of genetically modified organisms (biosafety), and proposed measures to take into account social and cultural dimensions of biodiversity conservation and use.

This module also addresses law and policy focused on the protection of nature and animals (wildlife), including a focus on the protection of migratory species and specific conservation techniques, such as the regulation of trade (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). The course also covers measures for the protection of specific habitats, ecosystems and biomes, including forests and polar areas, where distinct legal regimes have made a significant contribution to the development of environmental law.

This course is an Open Option and therefore available to all Postgraduate Taught Students at SOAS.


  • Weekly 2-hour seminar

Scope and syllabus

The module covers, for instance, regimes concerning:

  • Biodiversity conservation and use;
  • Nature and wildlife protection;
  • Habitats, ecosystems and biomes.

Method of assessment

  • Policy brief/book review: 30% (1000 words)
  • Essay: 70% (2500 words)

Suggested reading

  • Michael Bowman, Peter Davies and Edward Goodwin eds, Research Handbook on Biodiversity and Law (Edward Elgar, 2015)
  • Federica Cittadino, Incorporating Indigenous Rights in the International Regime on Biodiversity Protection : Access, Benefit-Sharing and Conservation in Indigenous Lands  (Leiden: Brill Nijhoff, 2019)
  • Malgosia Fitzmaurice, Whaling and International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2015)
    David Freestone, Conserving Biodiversity in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (Leiden: Brill Nijhoff, 2019)
  • Giulia Sajeva, When Rights Embrace Responsibilities: Biocultural Rights and the Conservation of Environment (Oxford University Press, 2019)
  • Sebastian Oberthr & G. Kristin Rosendal eds, Global Governance of Genetic Resources - Access and Benefit Sharing after the Nagoya Protocol (Routledge, 2014)
  • Ben Saul & Tim Stephens eds, Antarctica in international law (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2015)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.