3 ECTS credits
90 h study time

Offer 1 with catalog number 6016812FNR for all students in the 2nd semester at a (F) Master - specialised level.

2nd semester
Enrollment based on exam contract
Grading method
Grading (scale from 0 to 20)
Can retake in second session
Taught in
Faculty of Law and Criminology
International and European Law
Educational team
Sebastian OBERTHUR (course titular)
Activities and contact hours
26 contact hours Lecture
Course Content

EU and international environmental law continue to grow in importance. There are also close inter-linkages between European and international environmental law, whether in the problems to be tackled, solutions to the identified issues or the involved institutions and policy processes. There is thus much merit in looking at these areas of law together.

Environmental law is today a part of numerous life-long career paths. The course capacitates students to better address matters of international and EU environmental law during their subsequent professional careers by offering a wide yet thorough understanding of the most important features of EU and international environmental law in general (objectives, principles, institutional frameworks, instruments) and of core substantive areas of this vast field of law, such as climate change and circular economy-related environmental regulation. More specifically, the subjects covered include:

  • Foundations of international and European Environmental Law
  • Principles of international and European environmental law
  • Fragmentation and growth of international Environmental law
  • Multilateral environmental agreements
  • Classic instruments and new modes of governances in environmental law
  • Making and implementing EU environmental law
  • Circular economy
  • Renewable energy
  • Climate
Course material
Digital course material (Required) : EU Environmental Law in an International Context, Syllabus
Additional info

Study material: A detailed course syllabus including the readings per lecture is offered to the students online (CANVAS), as will be explained in the first session. The mandatory readings are available in an electronic form from the beginning of the course. Students are expected to have read the required reading before the scheduled lecture/seminar. The PowerPoint presentations used during the course are made available online and/or circulated by email.

Learning Outcomes

Algemene competenties

After the course, students should have thorough knowledge of the most important features of international and European environmental law (objectives, principles, institutional frameworks, decision-making mechanisms, and most pertinent challenges) and should be familiar with core substantive areas international and European environmental law (climate change, biodiversity, waste and product-related environmental regulation, air, water and chemicals law).

On this basis, they should be able to effectively apply their knowledge and skills in addressing issues of environmental law for both academic and practical purposes. The student should understand and be able to analyse the larger legal and econo-political context of global environmental protection law and policy (historical background, current situation, future perspectives) as well as the complicated, interlinked frameworks of the actors, institutions, instruments and decision-making processes of EU and international environmental law.

Finally, students should be able to engage in basic tasks of legal nature in the field of EU and international environmental law (e.g., drafting legal opinions and memoranda, advising non-legal decision makers, drafting outlines of judicial and administrative decisions, claiming and defending rights, etc.). During the course, the student’s attitudes as a responsible yet critical participant of the sustainable society are enhanced.


The final grade is composed based on the following categories:
Written Exam determines 90% of the final mark.
Other determines 10% of the final mark.

Within the Written Exam category, the following assignments need to be completed:

  • Open ended Questions with a relative weight of 50 which comprises 45% of the final mark.
  • Case Study Essay with a relative weight of 50 which comprises 45% of the final mark.

Within the Other category, the following assignments need to be completed:

  • Participation in Class with a relative weight of 1 which comprises 10% of the final mark.

    Note: Evaluation on the basis of their participation in class

Additional info regarding evaluation

Mode of Assessment: The assessment is divided into two parts: class participation and a written exam, which consists of short open-ended questions and a case study essay.

  • The students will be evaluated on the basis of their active participation in class and online (to the extent online assignments are developed)
    • 0 % not present / active
    • 5 % relatively present / active
    • 10 % mostly present and active
  • Part 1 of exam will consist of 3-6 short open-ended questions (closed book, 45 %), based upon the lectures and the assigned reading material. Together, the questions will cover a representative (each year varying) range of the issue areas across the course. Focus is on assessing knowledge and insight.  
  • Part 2 of the exam is a case study essay (open book, 45%), based upon the lectures and the assigned reading material. The case study deals with a question, on which a number of issue areas of the course intersect. The essay tests the student’s insights on these areas, as well his/her skills to move across and to interconnect them into a logically sound, well-reasoned and clearly written essay. Central to the essay is thus the student’s ability to apply his/her legal knowledge and skills to a practical case.


Sample questions:

Open-ended closed-book exam:

1. What are the cornerstones of current EU climate law? Please mention the relevant legislative instruments and main objectives and discuss their relationship (space permitting).

2. Please elaborate on the role of the “Conferences of the Parties” (COPs) of multilateral environmental agreements: What are, usually, their main functions and powers? Where do the powers of the COPs find their limits?

3. What are the key advantages and disadvantages of voluntary instruments as a form of environmental law? Use two informational instruments from the EU to give concrete examples.

4. Explain the precautionary principle, as well as the significance of principles in international and EU environmental law?

5. What are according to the lectures and Krämer (2011) the key challenges of implementing EU environmental law?


Open-book Case study:

1 Please write an essay of maximum 2000 words (4 pages) to respond the following two questions:

1.1) The European legal framework for waste underwent major changes in 2008. The Waste Shipment Regulation No 1013/2006 amended the rules that regulate the shipments of waste for disposal and for recovery, while the Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC especially amended certain central definitions. Below, you can find key paragraphs that have changed. Specific changes are highlighted underlining where they are particularly important. The WFD was to be implemented by December 2010.

The NewsBulletin EurActive has just published the attahced statistics [omitted in Studiedeelfiche] on the flows of solid municipal waste within Europe 2009-2012.

Do the waste flows seem to reflect the objectives of EU waste legislation as enshrined in the below-noted paragraphs? Is the main indicated amendment of the Waste Framework Directive visible in the developments?

1.2) Belgian waste management company CLIP would like to dispose of 5 containers of municipal waste and considers a shipment to appropriate waste treatment facilities in the Netherlands as a primary option. The company’s management asks you as the Legal Council of CLIP for advice on what should be considered in selecting an appropriate waste treatment facility and notifying such a shipment to the Belgian and Dutch competent authorities in order to minimize the risk of an objection to such a shipment under EU and international law.

Academic context

This offer is part of the following study plans:
Master of International and European Law: Standaard traject