Full time 12 Month(s), Part time 24 Month(s)
The LLM Human Rights and the Environment examines the political, legal and human rights issues that shape and inform environmental protection and regulation. Jointly delivered by our prestigious Law School and the Lancaster Environment Centre, it enables you to explore the environmental aspects of the law and the legal regulation of the environment in the context of human rights.
Our Law School is home to the Centre for Crime, Law and Justice, the Centre for Law and Society, and the Centre for Child and Family Justice. The Lancaster Environment Centre, along with Rothamsted Research and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, is part of our world-leading Graduate School for the Environment. These influential centres underpin our postgraduate teaching and you will have access to the much sought-after expertise of academics working at the forefront of research into natural and social sciences, legal and socio-legal issues.
The pathway for the LLM ensures a balanced duality: Law School modules, LEC modules, and a 20,000 word dissertation, enable you to pursue your own interests whilst becoming practiced at looking at issues from different perspectives.
Your core modules are Perspectives on Environment and Development, Environmental Law or International Environmental Law, the LLM Dissertation, and one from International Human Rights Law, Rights of Peoples, or The Right to Adequate Food as a Human Right.
You will study a further elective module in Law and one from the Lancaster Environment Centre. We pride ourselves on the breadth of options available and you can focus on the human rights, legal, environmental and sustainability issues that most interest you. Elective modules include: Chemical Risk Assessment, Climate Change and Society, Environmental Justice, Air Pollution and Climate, Law and Global Health, International Law, European Union Law, and the Law of International Organisations and Institutions.
The dissertation is an independent, in-depth inquiry into a research topic of your choosing. The topic will link to a key legal or environmental question or issue and may also directly relate to your professional/career interests. This is your opportunity to make a contribution to the academic community with new, original research and writing. A dissertation supervisor will provide you with support and introduce you to relevant research; their personal research interests will closely align with your chosen topic wherever possible.
Our teaching approach is international in scope and comparative by nature, and we actively encourage you to build a beneficial network of academics, peers and alumni during your time with us. All of this will help you to broaden your experience, deepen your understanding, and prepare for your next step.
Your postgraduate LLM degree opens doors to a huge range of careers. You will develop: the skills required to critically evaluate cutting-edge research; inter-disciplinary skills; and, analytical and communications skills. All of which are a real boost in any sector and highly prized by employers. The LLM is also an ideal stepping stone to PhD study and academia.
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
The dissertation is an independent, in-depth inquiry into a research topic of your choosing. The topic will relate to a key legal question or issue and may also directly relate to your professional/career interests.
This is your opportunity to make a contribution to the legal and academic community with new and original research and writing on a legal issue.
LLM 100: The dissertation is a compulsory component with a 20,000-word limit. It represents 80 credits (45%) of your degree weighting.
LLM 200: The dissertation is a compulsory component with a 15,000-word limit. It represents 60 credits (34%) of your degree weighting.
Please note: topics can only be approved if the University has sufficient sources for the research and the necessary staff expertise for supervision.
This module provides a theoretical foundation for the study of development and the environment from a geographical perspective. You will focus on understanding the ways in which scholars have brought together development theory with the analysis of nature-society relations in the majority world. You will be provided with a critical understanding of the evolution of contemporary development discourses and new ways of thinking about the relationships between environment and development.
Our world is facing an ever-increasing number of global environmental challenges. This engaging module examines the international legal response to those challenges.
We will delve into the socio-economic, political and scientific implications of environmental problems. As we do so, we will assess the impact of those implications on law and policy-making.
The module focuses on a number of contemporary environmental problems: climate change, marine pollution, the protection of international watercourses, fisheries and biodiversity, and the relationship between trade and the environment. You will assess the strengths and inadequacies of the law in regulating each of these issues.
Your studies will also include:
You will be taught by lecturers who are specialists in their field and active researchers. Current, cutting-edge research within the teaching team informs this module.
How have the principles of environmental law developed? How effective is the environmental law of England and Wales?
Law students and students from Lancaster Environment Centre study side by side on this module. This presents you with a rare interdisciplinary opportunity to share ideas and perspectives between lawyers and scientists. Together, we will explore the sources, principles and effectiveness of environmental law in England and Wales.
Within your studies you will investigate the efficacy and effect of environmental law. Topics analysed include: water pollution, the history of environmental law, green criminology and the protection of the countryside. The module then builds upon this critical analysis to explain how the aqueous, atmospheric and terraneous environments are protected by law.
Environmental law is taught by research-active academics who will introduce you to their cutting-edge research into green criminology, access to the countryside, market mechanisms and environmental protection. This research informs their teaching and you can choose an essay based on these topics or develop your own question with the support of our lecturers.
How do international laws protect, govern and shape your human rights?
This course provides an overview of the various rights that are protected through international instruments: civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
You will also be given a general introduction to regional and universal systems for human rights protection and promotion. This will focus on the UN human rights system but you will be encouraged to take a comparative view of regional human rights protection systems.
You will gain a substantive and procedural knowledge of human rights through the international system. And you’ll engage with some key debates in this legal arena, such as the development of human rights and the human rights obligations of non-state actors.
To get the most from this module, you will have some knowledge of general international law and have a law or social science background.
Our prestigious Law School is home to some of the most highly-regarded international lawyers and research-active lecturers - you will benefit from their expertise as they teach on areas closely aligned with their own research interests.
National and ethnic tensions lie at the heart of many contemporary international conflicts. But what are the rights of peoples, national minorities and indigenous peoples under international law?
Our Rights of Peoples module takes an in-depth look at this key question and encourages you to critically explore the idea of a national identity and relations between groups within states.
In particular, you will examine:
A combination of independent reading and regular seminars with our highly-regarded, research-active lawyers and academics will provide you with a sound grasp of this fascinating and highly-relevant legal area.
The module is based on the convenor’s monograph, Peoples and International Law, which has been cited before and in the ICJ.
The right to adequate food is one of the fundamental human rights as provided for in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This module will have its foundation in international human rights law, but will go beyond the legal framework and address the right to adequate food as part of broadly defined food security. The module addresses the right to adequate food from a political, social and environmental perspective, and includes a study of the normative content of the right, and the corresponding obligations. Furthermore, the students will work on case-studies which provide examples of situations where the right to food is threatened or violated, such as through destruction of land for food production, the need to resort to food banks in industrialised countries, or situations where poverty results in poor and unhealthy diets.
How does the law impact on global health challenges? How is legal governance of global health developing? And what are the challenges facing this important area of law?
Law and Global Health is your chance to examine the growing intersection of international law with global health risks. Our approach enables you to deepen your understanding of abstract theoretical issues before applying them to ‘real life’ examples. We will take a unique approach in considering all steps from law-making to the enforcement of international standards.
We will critically explore a range of contemporary issues, including the threat to global health from infectious diseases such as pandemic influenza and Ebola. We will also consider the structural challenges presented by non-communicable diseases such as obesity.
Rigorous reflection and critical discussion will centre on the current governance challenges including the migration of health care workers, intellectual property rights and benefit sharing amongst international community. The module ends by considering plural systems of norms and law in international health governance, and, their advantages and limitations.
Our prestigious Law School is home to some of the most highly-regarded and research-active lecturers. This module links with the convenor’s expertise in global health governance and his research in West Africa, global aviation standards and the threat of global pandemics.
European Union law impacts on the daily life of half a billion people and is currently facing serious challenges, which makes it an incredibly compelling subject to study.
Our module, European Union Law, will help you to develop a thorough understanding of this area of law by focusing on both perennial and contemporary issues.
We will take on controversial topical questions that have been the subject of public and academic debate - the subjects we’ll cover include:
Our prestigious Law School is home to some of the most highly-regarded, research-active lecturers. You will benefit from their expertise as they teach on areas closely aligned with their own research interests.
Diverse and fascinating: the rules, laws and customs that govern inter-state relationships come into sharp focus in this module. It provides you with a base from which you can further your study of specific areas of international law.
As we explore the essential elements of international law, and the way that they are used to shape the world in which we live, you will gain an in-depth understanding of both theory and practice. You will be given ‘real’ examples of international law to critically assess, allowing you to identify its shortcomings and challenges.
You will be introduced to fundamental principles and concepts of international law and to some topical issues:
We live in a world where an increasing amount of business is conducted across international borders. International Business Law and Institutions (WTO)considers the role of law, institutions, law makers and regulators in the international business environment.
You will look at the international legal and institutional framework that regulates transnational business and you will analyse the nature of legal and regulatory arrangements, including:
A combination of independent reading and regular seminars with our highly-regarded, research-active lawyers and academics will provide you with a sound grasp of this fascinating legal area.
Terrorism continues to be one of the greatest global challenges we face in the pursuit of international peace, stability and security.
This is a stimulating module that explores concepts from many areas of the law, including civil liberties, international law, criminal justice and human rights.
In the course of your studies you will look at the legal definitions of terrorism – from a regional, national, and international perspective. And you’ll have the opportunity to use counter-terrorism case studies to examine specific aspects of preventative justice measures.
This is a fast-moving and unpredictable area of law, so the material that we cover may change in order to track the prevailing issues and latest developments. However, you will consider civil liberties alongside some of the contemporary challenges facing domestic and international legal systems.
The examination of the topics is carried out through a vigorous interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach – offering you greater understanding and appreciation of the subject matter.
This module, taught and developed over 25 years, helps you to develop a coherent international perspective on business law as it relates to, and affects, corporations. We use our globalised economy as the context for an in-depth study of corporate law.
You will be asked to consider the view that a national corporate is merely a service which international business can access if it suits their needs. And you will critically assess and discuss the pros and cons of this perspective.
As we continue to interrogate this line of thought, you will have the opportunity to examine the strengths and weaknesses of UK corporate law - taking a comparative view when measuring UK corporate law against international standards. Strong links to practitioners will inform our insights.
Lancaster University is home to some of the most highly-regarded international business lawyers and scholars. This module draws upon 40 years of research experience and the expertise of a convenor with wide experience of doctoral candidate supervision.
International organisations such as the UN, EU, NATO and IMF play a prominent role in international society. All have rights and obligations under international law but they also hold different positions, exhibit their own personalities, and establish differing systems and structures.
This module seeks to make the concept of international organisations (and their rights and obligations under international law) familiar to you.
In the course of your studies you will look at the structure, membership, law-making powers and accountability of international organisations, taking the United Nations system as your particular focus.
You will also be encouraged to critically analyse the interplay between these prominent organisations and the current body of international law.
Our prestigious Law School is home to some of the most highly-regarded international lawyers and research-active lecturers. The convenor of this module has recently contributed the chapter on International Organisations for the Oxford Handbook on Jurisdiction.
This module will enable you to develop your independent research skills in preparation for your dissertation module. It also provides you with the opportunity to study an area of law that is currently unavailable within our optional modules.
The module structure includes a seminar on Research, Methodology and Writing, workshop sessions and regular meetings with your supervisor to track your progress and help you to set work plans.
What are the merits of international criminal justice? And what are the main challenges that present themselves in this area of law?
This module provides you with an opportunity to consider these key questions as you benefit from an introduction to substantive international criminal law.
You will explore the central theme of international crimes, deepening your understanding of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Within your analysis, you will address the role of international courts and tribunals, mixed and hybrid courts and tribunals, as well as developments in national courts.
This is your chance to critically engage with stimulating examples of prosecution and punishment, which are central to the subject of international criminal law. Your studies will be informed by the convenor’s cutting-edge research on transitional criminal justice and retrospective justice.
A combination of independent reading and regular seminars will provide you with a sound grasp of this fascinating legal discipline.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the 'internationalisation' of family law and the consequent study and practice of family law has become increasingly globalized. Cross border families experience problems which extend beyond national boundaries, often involving the laws of one or more States, and where the parties reside in, or are citizens of, different states. The issues include international adoption, child abduction, divorce, custody and cross boarder maintenance.
This module seeks to examine law in its social and cultural context, focusing specifically on its gendered context. It is socio-legal in emphasis. In other words, the module examines laws less for their own sake than for what they reveal about the role of law, and its operation in practice. In so doing, the module offers both theoretical and practical engagements with the law and assesses the contribution a feminist perspective can offer to understand socio-legal relations. The module will look, for example, at law’s theoretical underpinnings and its assumptions about the individual. The module will explore various areas of both public and private law and examine law’s role in challenging, creating or reproducing gender relations and the ways in which the law is used to reward and punish different forms of gendered and sexual conduct and identity.
The overall aim of this module is to introduce students to the role of law in transitional justice and peacebuilding and to provide an overview of the prevailing themes, issues and challenges faced within the field. The module will allow students to examine and critically assess the development and efficacy of various institutions and processes designed to deal with grave & systematic human rights violations in countries which are in transition from conflict or repression, to peace. Students will explore and critically evaluate various mechanisms such as truth commissions and assess their impact and contribution within the wider context of peace building and post-conflict reconstruction. Contemporary challenges in the field such as the inclusion of economic and social rights and gender issues will also be explored.
The focus is to understand the component parts and the interdisciplinary basis of the global food system. To this end, students will examine challenges facing global agricultural production as a result of climate change. They will also gain an understanding of the shortage of key resources for food production and the subsequent issues that affect people’s access to food.
In addition to this, the module will demonstrate how basic plant physiology can inform both plant breeding and agronomy to increase the sustainability of agriculture. The factors impacting food safety and food quality (especially nutritive value) will also be explored.
Ultimately, students will develop a familiarity with several current/impending crises in global food security.
Please note, if taking the Food Security pathway this is a core module.
This module will give students a grounding in the scientific process behind chemical risk analysis. The effect of chemicals in the environment will be observed and explained. Concepts such as dose-response relationships and observed-effect levels, as well as modes of entry and routes of exposure to humans, biota and the ecosystem as a whole, will be examined.
A large part of the module will be dedicated to understanding quantitative exposure assessment, which will include the introduction of fate modelling and the prediction of chemical concentrations in different environmental compartments. Students will also be familiarised with current assessment procedures for chemical registration and will partake in group practicals/workshops to understand the steps in chemical risk analysis. They will perform their own chemical risk assessment procedures, learn to use simulation models to predict outcomes, and will understand the role of risk assessment in decision making.
Please note, this is a core module for the Pollution pathway.
The aim of this module is to introduce the concept of the Earth system and how the different components (atmosphere, ocean, ice and ecosystems) all interact with each other to shape the Earth's climate and control how the climate might change. The module will cover issues related to recent climate change, including natural and human drivers of the change. It will introduce the computer models and global observation networks that scientists use to understand the Earth system. It will also discuss the role of atmospheric chemistry and climate in the Earth system, including issues related to air quality, greenhouse gases and aerosols.
Overall, this module aims to provide an introduction to the physical processes which influence global climate change, leading to a better understanding of Earth system science.
This module aims to explore and reconfigure the ways in which climate change is understood through a focus on the social, rather than the scientific-environmental discourses that have dominated the policy and politics of climate change. This module give you a wide-ranging and intensive introduction to the politics, cultures and theories of climate change research in the social sciences and humanities. You will be able to critically evaluate different theoretical perspectives on a range of climate change debates and present alternative arguments.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Undergraduate Degree: 2:1 (Hons) degree (UK or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline.
If you have studied outside of the UK, you can check your qualifications here: International Qualifications
English Language: IELTS - Overall score of at least 6.5, with no individual element below 5.5
We consider tests from other providers, which can be found here: English language requirements
If your score is below our requirements we may consider you for one of our pre-sessional English language programmes
Pre-sessional English language programmes available:
4 Week Overall score of at least 6.0, with no individual element below 5.5
10 Week Overall score of at least 5.5, with at least 5.5 in writing and no individual element below 5.0
Funding: All applicants should consult our information on Fees and Funding; Faculty Scholarships and Funding; Law School Fees and Funding
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