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International Environmental Law Research: Home

Introduction to International Environmental Law

"International environmental law is the set of agreements and principles that reflect the world's collective effort to manage our transition to the Anthropocene by resolving our most serious environmental problems, including climate change, ozone depletion and mass extinction of wildlife. More generally, international environmental law aims to achieve sustainable development—i.e., development that allows people to have a high quality of life today without sacrificing the quality of life of future generations. International environmental law is thus critical both for addressing specific environmental threats and for integrating long-term environmental protection into the global economy."

Source: David Hunter, International Environmental Law, 19 Insights on Law & Society (Jan. 5, 2021).

This guide is designed to help you conduct research on international environmental law topics and issues. 

Sources of International Environmental Law

  • International Treaties & Agreements 
  • Customary International Law - Encompasses domestic law, law of EU, and international organizations.
  • General Principles of Law - general principles of law recognized by civilized nations, such as the concept of limitations, estoppel, and equity.  
  • International Environmental "Soft Law" - Legally non-binding instruments from international environmental conferences or other international organizations.
  • Judicial Decisions - Judicial decisions of domestic and international courts.
  • Scholarly Writings - While the writings of legal scholars are not primary sources of international law, they can show evidence of it.

Print Resources

Research Guides

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