Environmental Law

Key information

Start date:
To be confirmed

Contact details:


This module can be taken as standalone or as part of building up to a certificate, diploma or master’s degree. You can take up to three standalone modules before deciding whether you want to work towards any of these.

    If you do decide to build up to a qualification, then you will need to complete and pass the following amount of modules within a five year period: four modules for a certificate; eight modules for a diploma; eight modules and a dissertation for a degree. Please note that certain modules will be compulsory depending on the degree you opt to take.

    If you would like to gain a qualification then you will need to register onto one of our master's courses:

    Module overview

    This module will discuss the foundation principles of the legal system related to the protection of the environment in context, the framework of environmental law at UK, EU and international level, law relating to the protection of land, air, waste, water and wildlife and biodiversity as well as solving environmental pollution problems and achieving compliance and enforcement.

    Learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

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

    Course content

    Content includes the following:

    • Criminal procedures and actions (roles of evidence, expert evidence, prosecuting and defending environmental claims, courtroom scenario)
    • Enforcement and compliance
    • Planning inquiries: Practice and procedure, participative exercise.
    • Regulatory frameworks for environmental law at UK, EU and international level
    • 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
    • The civil courts: Actions for damages.

    Learning and teaching methods

    The learning and teaching methods include:

    • Lectures and class discussions
    • Courtroom scenario exercises
    • Use of videos and films
    • Debate
    • Mock planning inquiry
    • Independent study.


    • Coursework based on selected questions, to be completed over the four-week period following this module.

    Please note: If you are taking this as a standalone course, then you are not required to complete the coursework, however, this will mean that you won't gain any credits for completing the module and so won't be able to work towards a qualification if you later decide to do so.

    Course leader

    Rosalind Malcolm profile image

    Professor Rosalind Malcolm

    Professor of Law, Director of Environmental Regulatory Research Group (ERRG)

    Reading list

    You will be required to do some reading prior to the module starting, take a look at the reading list.

    Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ENGM061.

    Entry requirements

    There are no entry requirements if you are taking this as a standalone module.

    For those wanting to build up to a qualification, please refer to the MSc course pages for entry requirements.

    Fees and funding

    Fees are to be confirmed

    How to apply

    Applications are currently closed, but please register your interest with the Head of Centre for Environment and Sustainability, Professor Richard Murphy, at rj.murphy@surrey.ac.uk.

    Terms and conditions

    When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations and our terms and conditions. You are also confirming you have read and understood the University's prospective student privacy notice.

    Further details of our terms and conditions will follow.


    This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the commencement of the course. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read the full disclaimer.

    Course location and contact details

    Campus location

    Stag Hill

    Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught. 

    Professor Richard Murphy Head of Centre for Environment and Sustainability

    University of Surrey
    Surrey GU2 7XH