Summer Abroad: Comparative Environmental Law

Catalog No.: 971

Course Description:

This tutorial will introduce the legal, economic, and social context of environmental regulation. No prior knowledge of U.S. environmental law is required, although students with past experience are welcome. During the tutorial, students will discuss: general theoretical approaches to environmental law; the structure of environmental law within the European Union, highlighting differences and similarities with the United States when relevant; a case study of the issue of fuel poverty that illustrates the intersection of environmental, economic, and social problems on which environmental law functions. Sample Syllabus: JvZ 2018 Environmental Law.pdf

Professor Josephine van Zeben studied law at the University of Edinburgh and Harvard University. Her work is interdisciplinary, having postgraduate qualifications in law and economics and law and political theory. An important part of her work focuses on climate change mitigation efforts within the European Union, specifically through market-based regulation. At Oxford, she is a fellow of Worcester College where she teaches EU law, Constitutional law and Administrative law. She is also a visiting lecturer at the ETH Zurich where she teaches Environmental law and policy to scientists. More information can be found at her website:

Instruction replicates the Oxford University tutorial method. Each student studies selected topics in a designated field of law under the direct supervision of an English law professor and legal scholar (the tutor) with expertise in the field. When registering for the program, students select the fields of law in which they are interested. Every effort is made to give them their first choice, however tutorial choices do change each summer. Tutorials are paired with a two-unit English Legal Institution Seminar

A student meets with his or her tutor five times during the program (an average of once each week). In advance of each tutorial, the tutor poses one or more topics or questions on which the student is to write an essay (generally about 2,000 words) after reading materials provided by the tutor in an extensive relevant bibliography of required or recommended readings. During each tutorial, students will discuss the assigned topic or questions with the tutor and will be asked to present (sometimes read) and defend their essay. Some professors ask the student to submit the paper to the tutor one day in advance of the meeting. Some tutors prefer to meet with the student one-on- one; these tutorial sessions meet for approximately 1-1/4 hour. Other tutors prefer to meet with students one-on- two; these tutorial sessions meet for approximately 2 hours.

For more information about study abroad programs please visit