LWMTEE-EU Environmental Law

Module Provider: School of Law
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: Registered for a postgraduate programme in Law or selected MA programmes or with permission of the Director of PGT Studies in Law.
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Mark Wilde

Email: m.l.wilde@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

Over the last 35 years the EU has become an important source of environmental law in domestic jurisdictions; indeed, one cannot fully understand how domestic laws operate in isolation from the EU context. The topic gives rise to a number of important themes which inform the aims of the module to, first, develop students’ appreciation of the relationship between law and policy, economics and science through appropriate exposure to political, scientific and economic arguments. To do so it examines the ideologies which underpin European Environmental Law and how these fit with longer established policy areas including market integration. Secondly, as regards substantive environmental laws, it aims to develop students’ understanding of the distinctive underlying principles and regulatory techniques have evolved ranging from technical standards on emissions to economic measures such as emissions trading. Furthermore, as an actor with legal identity on the international stage the EU must undertake the difficult task of ensuring that Member States comply with international obligations to which the EU has committed in their name. Thus, students will be encouraged to explore the ways that EU environmental law seeks to meld principles deriving from international and domestic sources with its own set of values and policy objectives. This creates tensions and dilemmas forming recurrent themes throughout the module. Thirdly, by means of case studies students will also gain an appreciation of the practical impact of EU measures on certain activities and industries.

Assessable learning outcomes:
On completion of the module, students will be expected to be able to:

  • Recognise the particular difficulties associated with balancing environmental concerns with other EU objectives.
  • Identify and understand the disparate sources of EU environmental law and synthesise them into a coherent framework.
  • Compare and contrast how certain regulatory techniques can be used to combat certain environmental problems in an EU context.
  • Evaluate and criticise how regulatory techniques operate in certain spheres.
  • Develop a critical understanding of how EU environmental law operates on both an intra-EU and extra-EU level - i.e., its operation in an internal context and in respect of the EU’s international relations.
  • Examine the extent to which the EU has developed an integrated approach to pollution control.
  • Anticipate future directions in EU environmental law.
  • Synthesise arguments from a range of sources beyond the purely legal literature.

Additional outcomes:
In addition to those listed in the School’s ‘core skills statement’, the module will encourage the development of:

  • High-level communication skills that facilitate active and engaged learning
  • High-level writing skills through close and critical analysis of the relevant literature
  • A sophisticated appreciation of the inter-play between law and politics in the context of EU law
  • An ability to apply aspects of theory to real-life European problems
  • An advanced appreciation of the relationships between EU and domestic laws

Outline content:

  • An introduction to EU environmental law: history, sources, fundamental principles, relationship with other EU policy areas (principally the Single Market);
  • Air and climate: including key items of legislation on atmospheric pollution, and international commitments on climate change. Analysis of regulatory techniques including emission limits and carbon credit emissions trading;
  • Water: key legislation and regulatory techniques;
  • Land and waste: the problem of land contamination and the problem of landfill. Analysis of regulatory techniques including landfill tax.
  • Biodiversity: the extent to which EU law seeks to conserve species and the particular problem of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Teaching in this module is designed to provide students with a range of resources on which they can draw in their learning. The main elements are:

  • A list of required and recommended readings, with notes and questions that will be used to guide class discussion and reflection.
  • Six weekly seminar classes of 2 hours each. These are discussion based classes and groups usually have between 5 and 12 students.
  • Assessed and optional non-assessed work that will be used to develop students’ skills and knowledge.
  • An electronic discussion board will be available for students enrolled in this module.

Where there are Faculty seminars relevant to the area then students in the module will be encouraged to attend and given the opportunity to discuss the issues with visiting academic presenters.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 12
Guided independent study 44 44
Total hours by term 56.00 44.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Other information on summative assessment:
Assessed essay of 8 pages (formatted in accordance with the School of Law’s Assessed Work Rules).

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the standard University policy.
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:
50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:
See School of Law PGT Programme Handbook

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 21 December 2016

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