LAWENVIR 737 - International Environmental Law

Lecturer biography

Dr. Klaus Bosselmann is Professor of Law and Founding Director of the New Zealand Centre for Environmental Law at the University of Auckland. His main areas of research are international environmental law, global governance and comparative constitutional law. He has served as a consultant to the UN, OECD, the EU and the governments of Germany and New Zealand and has been a visiting professor at leading universities around the world. Prof Bosselmann is Chair of the Ecological Law and Governance Association, Chair of IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law Ethics Specialist Group and Co-Chair of the Global Ecological Integrity Group.

He has published 30 books and over 130 book chapters and articles. For his pioneering work in the area of sustainability law and governance he received numerous awards including the Inaugural Senior Scholarship Prize of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, i.e. the global body of environmental law scholars.

Course outline

The course examines environmental law and governance from the international, regional and national levels. The global coverage includes international environmental law and draws on experiences from the EU, USA, Canada, South America, Australia and New Zealand highlighting environmental policy innovations from around the world. The topics include state sovereignty, the UN system, principles and sources of international environmental law, climate change, biodiversity, human rights and current developments in global and domestic environmental governance.


The course is organised around four major themes:

  1. Globalization and Global Challenges (factual, political and legal issues surrounding protection of the global environment)
  2. International Law and the Environment (history and concept of public international Law; principles and guiding ideas of international and comparative environmental law)
  3. The Principle of Sustainability (history, meaning and legal status of sustainability and sustainable development)
  4. Governance and Law for Sustainability (conceptual issues of multi-level environmental governance; Earth Charter; UN reform process; global networks)

The first part of the course explores the origins and concept of international environmental law. We will examine key principles and some shortcomings associated with the state-centred nature of international law. The second part has its focus on sustainability to show how it can guide law and governance at international and national levels.

Learning outcomes

Students who complete the course successfully should:

  • Understand the origins and subject of international environmental law
  • Be familiar with the concepts of the global environment, state sovereignty, jurisdiction, and sustainable development
  • Gain an enhanced appreciation of the fragmented array of international environmental agreements and “soft law” documents
  • Become knowledgeable of the ethical and interdisciplinary foundations of more effective governance and law
  • Appreciate the importance of the global dimension in all aspects of legal theory and practice


90% research essay of 12,500 words and 10% class participation and presentation.

Essay due by Friday 12 noon, 1st  June 2018.

Course details

Semester: One (Full Semester)
Points: 30
Time: Wednesdays, 5-8pm
Venue: Building 810, Room 3.40
1 - 11 Short Street
Essay due date: 12 noon, 1 June 2018

Contact details

Law Student Centre
Building 810, Level 2
1-11 Short Street


Lecturer Contact
Faculty of Law
Building 810, Level 7
1-11 Short Street