Environmental Legislation


The course on Environmental legislation aims at providing students with a basic understanding of the use of legal rules for the protection of the environment as a parameter of sustainable development.      In particular the course aims at: Introducing students to environmental legislative instruments (international, regional (european) and national) and the role thereof as tools for the achievement of the global commitment of sustainable development Enanabling students to apply the requirements prescribed by legislation on tools such as Environmental Impact Assessment  and Strategic Environmental Assessment


          A general knowledge of environmental protection mechanisms can serve as a good background. It would be useful for the students to have read the following documents:1.   https://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/1&Lang=E
 2.   European Commission Communication on EU's implementation of the Sustainable Development goals (SDGs) 2016: response to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development:http://ec.europa.eu/environment/sustainable-development/SDGs/implementation/index_en.htm3. https://www.unenvironment.org/resources/assessment/assessing-environmental-impacts-global-review-leg...

Learning Outcomes

After completing the course, students will be able to: 1.Demonstrate a basic knowledge on how to look up and understand the main features of legal texts aiming at protecting the environment 2. Pay special attention to legal requirements concerning the integration of environmental protection in various areas of development (environmental significance requirements) 3. Distinguish between legally mandatory requirements of international/regional legislation and the margin of appreciation left to national competent authorities in environmental matters 4. Demonstrate the ability to make sound judgements about the quality of scientific arguments and supporting evidence


Briefly the seminar covers the following: 1. General introduction to environmental protection through legislation at national, international and regional (European, Mediterranean) level 2. The global political choice of sustainable development: examples of legal texts introducing the adoption thereof. Guiding principles of environmental protection (prevention, precaution, rectification at source, polluter pays): examples of legal texts applying them (EIA, SEA, environmental liability, criminal enforcement) 3. The role played by soft law in environmental governance issues: EU environmental policy (openness, participation, accountability, effectiveness and coherence) 4. The role played by regional institutions: the case of MAICh and the euro-Mediterranean dialogue

Content Delivery

This Component combines learning through lectures as well as through students carrying out their own guided research. A few concrete examples of ICJ and CJEU case-law will help students form a general idea on the following issues: 1. Adoption of international and european environmental law, implementation in the domestic legal orders2. Enforcement mechanisms 3. Contribution of EU environmental law in international engagements (the example of the EU Green Deal)Having been provided the legal background to EIA, and in particular in relation to the EU EIA, with the help of the guidelines of the European Commission, as well as the UN guidelines, the students will be initiated to environmental decision making, in a way to identify the main requirements of environmental impact assessment. Furthermore, the knowledge of the above will serve as a good example for the application of relevant standards to Mediterranean countries in the forming of policies concerning integrated strategies

Coursework And Assignment Details

Students will be evaluated with a final written exam (100%), consisting of a multiple choice test of 20 questions. The material, which needs to be covered, consists in all the texts contained in the reading material folder. Especially for the needs of EIA application, students will need to have looked up at the guidance documents published by the European Commission, which will be examined during the course. Environmental law books will help students to acquire a more comprehensive knowledge.  Further details and date of exam will be confirmed during the course.