Instructor(s): Jutta Brunnée

For graduate students, the course number is LAW7013HS.

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

Note: The Blackboard program will be used for this course. Students must self-enrol in Blackboard as soon as confirmed in the course in order to obtain course information.

This course will provide an introduction to the basic concepts and mechanisms of international environmental law. It is structured so as to examine the field from a variety of perspectives, serving as course themes and intended to leave students with an understanding of both limitations and possibilities. Thus, while the course explores different topical areas (e.g. acid rain, ozone layer depletion, shared water resources, forest protection, climate change, South-North issues, trade & environment issues), 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? What is the interplay between normative and regime-oriented approaches in the development of international environmental law? In addition to an understanding of these questions, students will: acquire knowledge of the most relevant customary rules and emerging principles; gain an understanding of the basic structure and process of international environmental agreements. Students will have opportunity to apply these foundations in a small negotiation or drafting exercise.

All students must complete one short assignment 1500 words related to a negotiation or drafting exercise (20%). The balance of their evaluation (80%) will be based on: (A) A final three hour open book examination; or (B) A 6,000 word research paper on a topic approved by the instructor. A limited number of students may fulfill the Supervised Upper Year Research Paper in this course.

At a Glance

Second Term
Perspective course



33 JD


T: 2:10 - 4:00