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LLM Environmental Law

An LLM Environmental Law programme, or LLM Energy Law, will allow you to explore one of the newest areas of law. It relates to legislation covering sustainability and fossil fuels, renewable energy, pollution, climate change and conservation measures.

Environmental law is still a relatively niche area of practice within many law firms, but it is growing rapidly. It is becoming an increasingly important consideration in more established areas such as construction law, maritime law and elements of business/commercial law as a global focus on protecting the planet demands the evolution of current national and international legislation and the creation of brand new laws. This could make an LLM Environmental Law qualification a valuable asset for anyone who intends to progress in this area, or indeed almost any business-related career.

Core modules

Module choice will vary according to each institution; however, an LLM in this specialist area will tend to cover subjects such as:

  • International law of the sea
  • Climate change law and policy
  • Natural resources law
  • International environmental law
  • Planning law.

Course structure

Most LLM Environmental Law courses tend to be ‘taught’ programmes. Assessment is via a combination of essays for modules, written examinations, and usually a dissertation. Law schools who run LLM by Research programmes may be interested in proposals related to this area of law if they have relevant expertise within the faculty.  Newcastle University runs an LLM research degree in environmental law and policy.

The importance and growth of environmental law is reflected by the growing number of courses for environmental and energy law. As yet, there are still only a few UK institutions (under ten) that run Master of Laws degrees for environmental law, though this could well increase in the next few years.

Aberystwyth University offer this type of LLM in a distance learning format as a combined subject specialism with either management or human rights. Newcastle University run an environmental regulation and sustainable development course. Other providers include Lancaster University, Queen Mary, UWE, SOAS University of London, Kingston University (also as a part-time course) and University of Nottingham.

Entry requirements for LLM Environmental Law

Law schools with LLM Environmental Law courses will look for applicants with at least a 2:1 undergraduate law degree (or equivalent). They are also open to applicants from other degree disciplines, though their applications will be considered on an individual basis.

By Jos Weale, Editor,