Law and the Climate Crisis

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
School of Law, Gender and Media

Module overview

This course complements the existing offering in environmental law and offers a more focused module on one of the most sensitive environmental issues of our time. It seeks to provide a broad analytical view of the problem of climate change law and policy in its broader context.

The course examines the main international legal instruments that constitute international climate law and policy within their broader context. This includes an examination of the underlying principles of climate change law and policy, an introduction to the UN Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, a focus on specific legal issues arising in the context of the UN regime, such as carbon trading, as well as an analysis of more specific problems such as regional approaches and relations between climate change law and other areas of law such as trade law.

The module also examines specific problems arising in the context of the law and policy response to climate change both concerning mitigation and adaptation, such as human rights implications, land-use, forests and biodiversity.

This course is open to all Postgraduate Taught Students at SOAS.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • to equip students with a broad understanding of the law and policy related to climate change
  • to provide students with knowledge of basic concepts and principles underlying the development of law and policy in relation to climate change
  • to examine interlinkages between normative and substantive developments in law and policy fields relating to climate change
  • to equip students with the ability to understand and analyse issues concerning key legal and policy developments across a broad range of sectors related to climate change


  • Weekly 2-hour seminar

Method of assessment

  • Briefing paper: 30% (1000 words)
  • Essay: 70% (2500 words)

Suggested reading

  • Ivano Alogna, Christine Bakker, and Jean-Pierre Gauci eds, Climate Change Litigation: Global Perspectives (Brill, 2021).
  • Simon Behrman & Avidan Kent eds, Climate Refugees – Beyond the Legal Impasse? (London: Routledge, 2018).
  • Daniel Bodansky, Jutta Brunnée & Lavanya Rajamani, International Climate Change Law (Oxford University Press, 2017).
  • Tahseen Jafry ed, Routledge Handbook of Climate Justice (Routledge, 2020).
  • Benoit Mayer, The International Law on Climate Change (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018).


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.