Undergraduate Module Descriptor


LAW3142: Environmental Law and Planning

This module descriptor refers to the 2017/8 academic year.

Module Aims

This module aims to introduce you to environmental law and planning law. The first term will offer an overview of basic environmental law principles by considering national and European legal responses to managing global commons, the history of the development of environmental law, and the values and principles that have shaped this newly evolving discipline.  Given the focus on both theoretical and practical issues in environmental regulation and planning, the first part of this module also provides you with a sound grasp of cutting edge debates on the role of habitat protection and natural resource management, the role of human rights in environmental law, the concept of Earth jurisprudence, and the problem of marine spatial planning. It also puts you in contact with innovative concepts of space and geography, through research on stewardship and spatial justice.  The second term will be devoted specifically to planning law,  its practical elements, and its impact on the environment. Within this, the abstract concepts and principles learnt in the first term will be applied to the process of planning law and the law of environmental impact assessment.

The module seeks to provide you with the foundations of both theoretical and empirical knowledge of environmental law and planning policy, as well as equipping you with an understanding of the contemporary theory, debates and critical issues in, and perspectives on, environmental regulation and planning. 

The module allows you to contextualise abstract debates in specific realities and, vice versa, to develop theoretical reflections from selected topics. This will be achieved through an exploration of the philosophical and historical background and of the main ethical perspectives underpinning the development of environmental law, coupled with in-depth practical planning coverage. In order to enhance the theory-practice interplay, links with local Devon environmental sustainability initiatives will also be drawn on in order to allow you to observe stewardship, environmental and planning regulation in action. The involvement of local initiatives would be a great experience for any up and coming planning or environmental lawyer.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

This module's assessment will evaluate your achievement of the ILOs listed here - you will see reference to these ILO numbers in the details of the assessment for this module.

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to:
Module-Specific Skills1. demonstrate detailed/comprehensive knowledge of the law relating to environmental and planning law and a substantial range of major concepts, values and principles relevant to its application;
2. demonstrate critical awareness of a wide range of social and contextual implications of the areas of environmental and planning law studied;
3. compare, analyse and synthesise the principal rules and theories relating to environmental law and planning;
4. identify, explain and critically evaluate key issues in environmental law and planning and to apply relevant rules and theories;
Discipline-Specific Skills5. demonstrate detailed/comprehensive knowledge of legal concepts and their contextual/social/political implications;
6. demonstrate ability to select, integrate and present coherently and reflectively, orally and in writing, relevant law and legal/theoretical arguments;select, integrate and present coherently and reflectively, orally and in writing, relevant law and legal/theoretical arguments;
Personal and Key Skills7. communicate and engage in debate effectively and accurately, orally and in writing, in a manner appropriate to the discipline/ different contexts;
8. identify, retrieve and use efficiently a range of library-based and electronic resources with minimum guidance; and
9. work independently and to manage time efficiently in preparing for scheduled learning activities, exercises and assessments.