University of Miami School of Law CourseLink Course Description - Online System
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Spring 2021

Course Description
This one-week course focuses on an exciting and fast-moving area of international law – Human Rights and Environment. The course will discuss the history and substance of this relationship, including the ongoing work of both the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Environment, David Boyd, and to a lesser extent the Special Repporteur on Human Rights and Toxic Substances, Baskut Tuncak. The course will examine several controversial issues, including the relationship of human rights and climate change, whether there is a human right to a healthy environment, whether corporations have human rights obligations, and the extent to which States have human rights obligations regarding effects outside their territory. Although significant issues remain unresolved, this area stands as one of the success stories of international law generally over the past several decades and of the development of the law of sustainable development. The course will cover the following topics: Introduction to the International Legal System • International law • International institutions • International dispute settlement Introduction to Human Rights • Procedural rights • Substantive rights • Institutions • Indigenous peoples Introduction to Environmental Protection • Basic concepts of environmental protection • National environmental law • International environmental law The Interface of Human Rights and Environment • History, including synergies and tensions • International instruments • Domestic law o Constitutions o Other • Case law o International o Inter-American human rights system o African human rights system o European human rights system o International Court of Justice o Other • Outstanding issues o Right to a healthy environment o Transboundary Responsibility/“Extraterritoriality” o Obligations of corporations o Animal rights o Rights of Nature/Mother Earth o Human Rights and Climate Change • Environmental Human Rights Defenders.

Short Course Attendance Policy Due to the small number of meetings, attendance to all meetings/classes for short courses is mandatory. Students who miss more than one class session (80 minute) of a 1-credit short course are subject to administrative withdrawal and will have a W for the course on their transcripts.

Course Schedule
Offering Dates: 02-23-2021 - 02-27-2021  

Dates Day Time Room
02-23-2021 - 02-25-2021   TWR  12:10 PM-1:40 PM DL
02-26-2021 - 02-26-2021   F  2:00 PM-5:30 PM DL
02-27-2021 - 02-27-2021   S  10:00 AM-1:40 PM DL

Course Frequency
Occasional course offering

Course Information

Credits: 1
Pass/Fail Option: No
Grading: Graded
Method of Evaluation: Class participation and a three-hour take home exam during 24 hour period on March 5th.
Graduation Requirements Fulfilled By Course:
Special Attributes:
Short Course
Course Delivery:
Online (all synchronous)
Special Restrictions:
Law Track(s):
Environment & Natural Resources - Basic
Social Justice - Basic
Bar Subject(s): None
Environmental Law (Area of Focus)   More information
Environmental Law (Concentration)   More information
Social Justice & Public Interest (Area of Focus)   More information
Social Justice & Public Interest (Concentration)   More information
Course Book(s):
Textbook Required:
First Class Assignment(s):
  • Assignment: I. Introduction to the International Legal System A. International legal norms B. International institutions C. International dispute settlement D. Compliance and implementation E. Governance Required Reading Edith Brown Weiss, Daniel Barstow Magraw, Stephen C. McCaffrey, A. Dan Tarlock, & Stephanie Tai, International Environmental Law and Policy [hereinafter Brown Weiss], Chapter 19 – International Norms and Dispute Settlement, in HRE READINGS (on Blackboard), pp. 1-43. Brown Weiss, Chapter 18: International Institutions and Governance, in HRE READINGS (on Blackboard), pp. 44-61. The Changing Structure of International Law, Edith Brown Weiss, Georgetown Law—Res Ipso Loquitur 52 (Spring 1997), in HRE READINGS (on Blackboard), pp. 79-80. Urgenda v. The Netherlands (Supreme Court 2020) Skim to understand the structure Edith Brown Weiss, Daniel Barstow Magraw & Paul C. Szasz, International Environmental Law: Basic Instruments and References, pp. 3-6 (1992) (on Blackboard). Skim Brown Weiss, Chapter 18: International Institutions and Governance, in HRE READINGS (on Blackboard), pp. 61-78.

    Additional Information:
    All Materials are on your Blackboard Page

    HRCC Syllabus Spring 2021 Edited.docx



Contact Information: