Environmental Law


General knowledge about the legal and political frameworks in the areas of ¿¿environmental law and management of natural resources, from an international, European and national perspective, within the global framework for implementing policies to protect the environment and adapt to climate change. The course intends to contribute to a change of paradigm, through legal instruments, for the sustainable governance and management of the territories and communities of the present and the future.

General characterization





Responsible teacher



Weekly - 3

Total - 36

Teaching language



Not applicable


Recommended readings

Bell, Stuart / McGillivray, Donald / Pedersen, Ole W. / Lees, Emma / and Stokes, Elen, Environmental Law, 9th ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017).

Boer, Ben (ed.), Environmental Law Dimensions of Human Rights (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015).

Bosselmann, Klaus, The Principle of Sustainability: Transforming Law and Governance, 2nd ed. (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016).

Boyd, David R., The Environmental Rights Revolution: A Global Study of Constitutions, Human Rights, and the Environment (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2012).

Gomes, Carla Amado, Introdução ao Direito do Ambiente, 3.ª edição (Lisboa: AAFDL, 2018).

Gomes, Carla Amado, Direito Internacional do Ambiente: Uma Abordagem Temática (Lisboa: AAFDL, 2018).

Hiskes, Richard P., The Human Right to a Green Future: Environmental Rights and Intergenerational Justice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

Hunter, David / Salzman, James / Zaelke, Durwood, International Environmental Law and Policy (University Casebook Series), 5th edition (New York: Foundation Press, 2015).

May, James R. / Daly, Erin (eds.), Human Rights and the Environment: Legality, Indivisibility, Dignity and Geography (Cheltenham: Elgar Publishing, 2019).

Oomen, Barbara / Davis, Martha F. / Grigolo, Michele (eds.), Global Urban Justice: The Rise of Human Rights Cities (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016).

Ost, François, A Natureza à Margem da Lei: A ecologia à prova do direito (Lisboa: Instituto Piaget, 1998).

Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, Andreas / Brooks, Victoria (eds.), Research Methods in Environmental Law: A Handbook (Handbooks of Research Methods in Law series), (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2017).

Purdy, Jedediah, After Nature. A Politics for the Athropocene (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015).

Turner, Stephen J. / Shelton, Dinah L. / Razzaque, Jona / McIntyre, Owen / May, James R. (eds.), Environmental Rights: The Development of Standards (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 2019).

[Open source and digitally based reading to be made available in lectures.]

Teaching method

Classes in seminar format and application of active learning methods.

Evaluation method

Final exam: as provided by the Assessment Regulations of NOVA School of Law.

Optional (subject to approval by the Scientific Council): Elaboration of a final essay/paper on one of the topics identified in the syllabus. Maximum limit of 7,500 words in 1.5 space (body text, excluding bibliography), IGNORE Times New Roman, size 12 (75%); Oral presentation on the same topic (25%).

Subject matter

Chapter I - Introduction to Environment and Climate Change Law

  1. What is Environmental Law?
  2. Origins, evolution, and challenges
  3. Values, principles, and environmental rights
  4. Form, function, and administration of Environmental Law
  5. The growing relevance of climate change

Chapter II - Integrated perspectives of environmental law

  1. International law and environmental protection
  2. The European Union and the environment
  3. Other supranational realities and the environment
  4. Environmental protection in national legal frameworks
  5. Perspectives of local environmental protection

Chapter III - Legal Protection of the Environment

  1. Regulation of environmental protection
  2. Environmental crimes, liability, and law enforcement
  3. The relevance of public participation
  4. Access to environmental justice and the role of the courts

Chapter IV - Application of Environmental Policies and Environmental Law

  1. Definition of environmental policies
  2. Urban planning and territorial management
  3. Environmental impact assessment
  4. Environmental licensing in economic activities

Chapter V - Addressing Pollution and Climate Change

  1. Pollution prevention and control
  2. Climate change and the ozone layer
  3. Water quality
  4. Waste management

Chapter VI - Natural Resources and Nature Conservation

  1. Sustainable use of resources
  2. Environmental compliance
  3. Renewable energy
  4. Special cases: Forest and the Sea
  5. Nature conservation strategies and policies

Chapter VII - Future Environmental Challenges

  1. Which future for Environmental Law?
  2. Effective protection of environmental rights
  3. The need for resilience and adaptation to climate change
  4. Law and new technologies: smart and sustainable cities