The course provides the general principles and means of European environmental law in the light of public and constitutional law. Furthermore, the course mainly intends to develop a critical approach of the matter through a review of case-law and multilevel sources of environmental law.
teacher profile | teaching materials


Part I. Introduction to European environmental law
- The legal concept of “environment”
- Environment and plurality of legal systems
- Environmental law and European constitutional law
- The institutional framework of the European Union (brief outline)
- The sources of European environmental law

Part II. Principles of European environmental law
- Environmental law and European integration
- Environmental protection in the European Treaties in force. The Treaty of Lisbon
- General principles of Union's action: The principle of sustainable development
- Environmental protection in the light of subsidiarity and solidarity
- Principle of integration
- Fundamental principles of the Union's environmental policies
- Principle that preventive action should be taken
- Precautionary principle
- Principle that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source
- Principle that the polluter should pay

Part III. European decision-making processes and securities concerning environmental law
- Environmental protection and division of powers between the European Union and the Member States
- Objectives and criteria on Union policy on the environment
- European legislative proceedings
- European legislation on Environmental protection and its implementation within Member States
- General action programmes and soft law
- Art. 37 European Charter of Fundamental Rights
- The right to a healthy environment and the Court of Strasbourg

Core Documentation

In addition to the materials provided by the lecturer, students are required to attend to the relevant parts of the recommended textbooks.
Students should also be in full possession of the fundamental texts of European law, such as, for example, P. Scarlatti (ed.), Codice essenziale di diritto costituzionale dell'Unione europea, Roma, Aracne, 2011.

Reference Bibliography

Recommended textbooks: B. Caravita, L. Cassetti, A. Morrone, Diritto dell’ambiente, Bologna, il Mulino, 2016 (Cap. da I a V) Or alternatively, A. Crosetti, R. Ferrara, F. Fracchia, N. Olivetti Rason, Introduzione al diritto dell’ambiente, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2018 (Cap. I) R. Giuffrida, F. Amabili, La tutela dell’ambiente nel diritto internazionale ed europeo, Torino, Giappichelli, 2018 (Cap. I)

Type of delivery of the course

Traditional frontal teaching will be provided. Specific topics of European environmental law will be the subject of further investigation and discussion.


Attendance to the course is not mandatory, but highly recommended.

Type of evaluation

A final oral examination is expected in order to verify the knowledge acquired al well as the student's critical skills in relation to the main legal issues and the various factors affecting the relationship between legal systems.