Instructor(s): Jutta Brunnée

Note: This course satisfies either the Perspective or the International/Comparative/Transnational course requirement.

This course will provide an introduction to international environmental law. It is structured so as to examine the field from a variety of perspectives and to leave students with an understanding of both limitations and possibilities. Thus, while the course explores different topical areas (e.g. transboundary air pollution, ozone layer depletion, marine environmental protection, climate change, South-North issues, trade & environment issues; compliance and enforcement), the goal is not merely to know how international environmental law responds to the challenges at hand, but also to arrive at some overarching insights into its workings. Key questions, pursued throughout, include: What “tools” are available to international environmental law as a branch of public international law? What are the particular challenges to be met by international environmental law in modern international society? In addition to an understanding of these questions, students will acquire knowledge of: the most relevant customary rules and emerging principles of international environmental law; the basic structure and process of international environmental agreements; the role of international courts and tribunals. 

Students must prepare a 6,000 word paper on an international environmental law topic of their choosing (80% = 5% paper proposal + 5% one-on-one discussion of proposal with instructor + 70% final paper). In addition, students must prepare a reaction memorandum of up to 500 words for each of two classes. The memorandums will count towards the participation mark (20% = 5% for each memorandum, 5% attendance, and 5% contributions to class discussion). A limited number of students may fulfill the Supervised Upper Year Research Paper in this course.
Academic year
2023 - 2024

At a Glance

Second Term
Perspective course



33 JD


M: 10:30 am - 12:20 pm