Integrating access to environmental justice within the university law school curriculum in England (PM)

by Paul Maharg on 20/06/2015

Final presentation before lunch, by David Ong of Nottingham Law School.  His project aims to link international and European developments in  information, opportunities to participate in decision-making processes, and access to judicial and administrative remedies, with related legal developments in English public law.  It’s an environmental justice project, he noted, that integrates jurisdictionally-specific and conceptually-related developments within a narrative that provides foundational law students with a practical knowledge base, and incentives for embarking on further study.

David is attempting to integrate environmental sustainability into the core subjects of the law curriculum. eg Public Law (Constitutional and Administrative Law) — Legal Standing for Environmental NGOs in Judicial Review Applications.  Or in Tort Law — Nuisance/negligence claims to protect the amenity values of property.

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Interesting idea.  Thinking of other such projects (ie me not David), it reminds me of the process of curriculum design of EU law, as originally an EEC module, to gradual integration within all subjects within the curriculum, as well as a core EU module.  Compare with the design history of HR, which was much more quickly embedded into the curriculum than EU law — interesting why this happened, given that both involve international treaty obligations.

David raised pedagogic issues.  Eg environmental overview within each module.  But the downsides are insufficient context and superficial treatment of environmental law/justice issues at the expense of a more considered layering of knowledge and legal techniques, regulation and remedies over the course of a whole semester/year.

Interesting curriculum design issues raised by this idea.  At questions, Nigel Duncan pointed out a number of other examples of vertical curricula, and the issue of assessing the embedded environmental issues.  Liz Curran pointed out how such integration, eg property rights taught within the context of indigenous rights can often be fully appreciated by students only further down the line, when students are practising law.

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