Environmental Law

This module is for those wanting to study the laws of environmental pollution, including the protection of land, air, waste, water and wildlife and biodiversity.

Monday 29 April - Friday 3 May 2019

Module overview

Module Leader Rosalind Malcolm
Other contributors Katrien Steenmans and guest lecturers
Number of credits 15
Number of ECTS credits 7.5
Module availability Semester 2
Overall student workload 150 hours
Assignment at end of module 100%
Alternative assessment Different choice of essay topic N/A
Qualifying condition(s) A mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Prerequisite/co-requisites None

This module aims:

  • To provide an understanding and critical awareness of the foundational principles of the legal system related to the protection of the environment in context
  • To identify and critically assess the framework of environmental law at UK, EU and international level
  • To critically assess the law relating to protection of land, air, waste, water and wildlife and biodiversity
  • To critically assess the role of law in solving problems of environmental pollution and in achieving compliance and enforcement.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will:

  • Understand the key characteristics of environmental law. (C, K)*
  • Be able to handle complex problems of pollution of the environment involving corporate and private interests (C, K, T, P)*
  • Have critical awareness of the policy context for environmental law (C, T, P)*
  • Have critical understanding of the role of EU and international law in the operation of environmental law (C, K, T, P)*
  • Demonstrate an ability to analyse and discuss in a reasoned and cogent manner the principles of environmental law (C, T)*
  • Apply the principles of environmental law so as to be able to propose and evaluate alternative solutions to practical fact based problems (C, T, P)*
  • Be able to present legal information effectively, according to accepted practice and convention (C, T, P)*.

*Key: C - Cognitive and analytical; K - Subject knowledge; T - Transferable skills; P - Professional and practical skills.

Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Regulatory frameworks for environmental law at UK, EU and international level
  • The civil courts: Actions for damages
  • Criminal procedures and actions (roles of evidence, expert evidence, prosecuting and defending environmental claims, court-room scenario)
  • Enforcement and compliance
  • Substantive pollution laws in outline at EU level e.g. water law, waste law, atmospheric pollution, biodiversity law, land use planning and environmental impact assessment
  • Planning inquiries: practice and procedure, participative exercise.

Methods of learning and teaching

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to provide:

  • Lectures (19 hours)
  • Courtroom scenario exercises (3 hours)
  • Use of videos and films (2.5 hours)
  • Discussion seminars (4.5 hours)
  • A debate (1 hour)
  • A mock planning inquiry (5 hours)
  • An understanding of the way in which the legal system operates and how it deals with environmental pollution.

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate, in accordance with the learning outcomes, their acquired knowledge, critical awareness of the key principles and policies studied in this module, their ability to evaluate and also to apply their acquired knowledge and critical awareness to the resolution of hypothetical legal problems.

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the way in which the legal system operates and how it deals with environmental pollution.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of a selection of case study critiques of legal problems and analysis of legal principle.So, the summative assessment for this module consists of coursework which will require the students to answer set questions. They will have a choice within the coursework as to which questions to select.

Formative assessment and feedback

The module takes place over an intensive week with extensive opportunity for feedback during the week. Advance reading is set and discussion takes place before and after the intensive week via Surrey Learn and individual email contact. During the week small exercises are set for group discussion and feedback as preparation for the summative assessment.

Further information


This will be a week long course, from Monday 29 April - Friday 3 May 2019.


Price per person:

  • £1275.00.

How to apply

Payment can be accepted by purchase order, credit card or bank transfer on our online store.

If you would prefer to fill out our paper form, then please complete and return this form by email or send it in the post to:

FEPS Student Services Administration
08 AA 02
University of Surrey
GU2 7XH.

Please note that we do not charge VAT as we are an educational establishment.

Payments will be accepted subject to availability.

Essential reading

  • Bell, McGillivray and Pedersen, Environmental Law (OUP 2017)
  • McEldowney & McEldowney, Environmental Law ((Longman 2013).

Reading drawn from the students required purchases appropriate to the topics covered by the Environmental Law in Action syllabus; key cases read in full in the Law reports; selected academic articles from journals such as:

  • Journal of environmental law
  • Journal of planning and environmental law
  • International journal of law in the built environment
  • Transnational environmental law
  • Environmental law review
  • ENDS report
  • Journal of africa law
  • Modern law review
  • Cambridge law journal
  • Journal of business law.

Recommended reading

E Fisher, B Lange and E Scotford, Environmental Law: Text, Cases and Materials (OUP 2013).

Richard Macrory, Regulation, Enforcement and Governance in Environmental Law (Hart Publishing, 2010).

Ludwig Kramer, EU Environmental Law, (Sweet & Maxwell, 2013).

Background reading

Useful textbooks which students may find useful for background reading include:

  • Mark Stallworthy, Understanding Environmental Law, (Sweet & Maxwell, 2008) [recommended as pre-reading for the module]
  • Jonathan Harr, Civil Action (available as an e-book on the library database – recommended as pre-reading for the module]
  • Wolf and Stanley, Environmental Law, (Routledge, 2011).

*Students will be advised to consult the latest editions of all published texts.


If you have any queries about this module then please contact Melanie Wilde, the Administrative Officer:

Contact us

Find us

Centre for Environment and Sustainability
Arthur C Clarke building, Floor 2
University of Surrey