This module is one of the core modules offered in the spring semester of studies in the area of public international law. Building on a robust foundation of international law, the course discusses the peculiarities of international environmental law regarding the sources of its norms and the repercussions of their breach.


The course aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the development and function of international environmental law. Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • understand the institutional structures and processes of international environmental law
  • understand and approach the rules, policies, and principles of this area of international law in a critical and analytical manner
  • discuss the major challenges and latest developments in the field
  • interpret legal sources, including treaties, case-law and literature, in the field
  • identify and resolve legal problems regarding the protection of the environment as a whole
  • assess the impact of international environmental law on general international law.



The course addresses the peculiarities of international environmental law: the norm-generating process through both hard-law procedures and soft-law techniques; the every-day function of programmatic rules, which necessitate constant adjustment to shifting circumstances; the enforcement challenges offered by a system which prioritizes prevention rather than coercion; and the practical implications of responsibility rules where reparation remains elusive or impossible.

Academic Requirements

Participants are expected to have basic previous knowledge of Public International Law.

Teaching method

This course is taught in weekly two-hour interactive, discussion-based seminars, which requires a high level of student participation. Basic and further reading lists will be circulated prior to the classes. Students are expected to make presentations and participate in the seminars by replying and discussing short problem and essay questions. They may also be asked to contribute to the seminars with short work assignments.


The course is taught by Associate Professor Maria Gavouneli with the support and assistance of Dr. Akis Papastavridis and Dr. Ilias Plakokefalos.

Assessment and testing

  • The final exam takes the form of a moot court exercise, where the class is asked to research and present written briefs and argue a fictional case before an international instance - (50%)
  • Class participation with presentations and participation in joint exercises - (50%)