Module code: LAW2105

Module Overview

This module is intended to introduce students to legal and policy developments on climate change, with an emphasis on international and regional levels. Students will gain an understanding of the fundamentals of international environmental law, and policy initiatives tackling climate change. Students should develop a strong, critical understanding of the basic doctrinal concepts, develop the ability to critically analyse relevant case law and engage with scholarly debates relating to the development of environmental protection. The module focuses on selected topics and case-studies. It engages with contemporary debates on issues including climate justice, the protection of rights in environmental law, and state action in addressing climate change.

Module provider

School of Law

Module Leader

O'MEARA Noreen (Schl of Law)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 16

Independent Learning Hours: 70

Lecture Hours: 8

Guided Learning: 48

Captured Content: 8

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes -
¿ Introduction to international environmental law and its evolution.
¿ Analysis of the roles of selected international courts and regional organizations in environmental protection.
¿ Climate justice and human rights law in relation to the environment.
¿ Selected legislative and policy challenges and the responsiveness of governance at the international level.
¿ Revision of topics covered during the module.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework 3000 word coursework 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their thorough understanding of legal and policy responses to climate change at regional and international levels. The formative assessment focuses on testing knowledge of selected preliminary topics, and students¿ ability to do legal research and articulate fluent, well-argued responses to questions. The summative assessment tests the learning outcomes, identifying and rewarding students¿ analytical skills and demonstration of knowledge. In formative and summative assessments, students are encouraged to address themes from across the module.

The mature reflection on and implementation of formative and in-class feedback will build students¿ resourcefulness and resilience in improving their performance in the module¿s learning activities and assessments. The transferable skills developed during the module, including critical thinking and analysis, public speaking and communication skills, will enhance students¿ academic capacity for future studies and enhance essential skills for their employability.

Formative assessment and feedback:

Students will be given the opportunity to complete a short formative assessment. Feedback will be provided to support students¿ academic development. Written feedback is provided on formative assessments, and oral feedback is provided in tutorials and in revision lectures. Students will get verbal feedback throughout the discussions on topics during teaching sessions.

Summative Assessment:

Students will complete a summative essay-based coursework assessment of 3000 words. Questions will address topics from across the module. This encourages students to engage deeply in a range of topic areas for the assessment, and allows us to test whether students can make connections across the topics in the module. Questions will be designed to allow students to show that they have understood the basic doctrines and that they can analyse novel problems and issues relating to law and climate change in depth. Students are expected to substantiate claims made by drawing on appropriate evidence.

Module aims

  • Provide an introduction to international environmental law.
  • Provide opportunities to explore the role of international courts in environmental law.
  • Explore case-studies on contemporary legislative and policy initiatives in environmental law.
  • Foster advanced engagement with relevant literature on the topics covered.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Adopt a critical, analytical approach to legislative and policy measures addressing climate change. CK
002 Develop reflection and communication skills when discussing relevant judgments, identifying and assessing trends relating to the development of rights protection in relation to the environment. CKT
003 Demonstrate a critical understanding of the policy context for the development of international environmental law. CKPT
004 Demonstrate an awareness of and ability to discuss complex environmental challenges relating to climate change and sustainability, and potential measures to address them. CKT
005 Critically apply acquired knowledge to novel problems and hypothetical situations when answering essay questions. CPT
006 Develop digital capabilities to find and use relevant primary and secondary sources when undertaking independent reading and research. CKPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to complement the learning and teaching strategy across our programmes. It does so by fostering advanced knowledge, understanding and critical awareness of selected legal topics relating to tackling climate change and sustainability through varied teaching and learning methods. Students are offered learning and feedback opportunities through lectures, tutorials, online review sessions, supporting students to be resourceful when self-reflecting on strategies to improve their performance.

The learning and teaching methods include a combination of in-person teaching, online sessions, and independent and guided study spread throughout the semester. A decision was made to have shorter one-hour lectures to support students in navigating new topics, and longer two-hour workshops to maximise scope for interactive, critical discussion. The delivery format of the taught hours for this module is: a lecture or workshop or discussion/revision session is scheduled during teaching weeks, supplemented by guided learning and resources provided via the SurreyLearn module area, and consultation hours during the semester. Students will become familiar with accessing and interpreting a mix of legal and policy documents to inform their understanding of topics, with an emphasis placed on discussion-based activities to enhance students¿ ability to listen, articulate complex ideas orally, and consider legal problems both independently and collaboratively.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: LAW2105

Other information

Sustainability: The substance of the topics studied on this module are squarely in the realm of sustainability and environmental protection. When exploring ways in which climate change is addressed at international and regional levels, students will be called on to reflect on the implications of, for example, specific environmental challenges; just transition; climate justice; human rights implications of legal and policy initiatives. Through their reading, critical thinking and discussions, students will gain an overview of legal and policy initiatives, with in-depth case-studies providing a focus for deeper reflection on substantive environmental challenges. Global and cultural capabilities: During the module, students may reflect on their own experiences, and be prepared to discuss different cultural factors in case-studies, and judgments to enhance their understanding of the topics. This will also develop their understanding of the varied contexts in which environmental degradation is occurring, and the challenges faced by individuals and communities. Being open-minded to these challenges and to diverse views and perspectives will help students gain a greater understanding of how action may be effectively taken to tackle climate change across the globe. Employability: The skills practised in preparation for tutorial activities and when completing formative and summative assessments are essential skills for employability. The tasks set will enable students to hone their ability to interpret and discuss advanced literature and brainstorm solutions to complex problems. The transferable skills developed during the module, including critical thinking and analysis, public speaking and communication skills, will enhance students¿ academic capacity for future studies and enhance essential skills for their employability ¿ whether in legal practice as a barrister or solicitor, in a research/teaching career, or in associated professions. Resourcefulness and resilience: Students are encouraged to take advantage of oral and written feedback offered in response to their class participation and formative assessment. Mature reflection on and implementation of formative and in-class feedback will build students¿ resourcefulness and resilience in improving their performance in the module¿s learning activities and assessments. The module also develops these qualities through the in-depth study of the intersections between law and climate change - supporting students to become more responsible citizens in a world where tackling climate change will be one of the defining challenges of our lifetimes. Digital capabilities and legal research: The module workshops and assessments require students to develop and practice digital legal research skills using materials that will be unfamiliar to them at the outset (e.g. accessing Treaties; case law from international courts; policy documents). Successful students will quickly become adept at finding and reading relevant materials, and be prepared to discuss judgments and dissenting opinions in cases, and a variety of legal, and policy initiatives to tackle environmental issues.

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.