Human Rights and Economic Law for the Green Transition

Course content

The main objective of the course is to provide students with an understanding of the potential of two critical areas of international law, namely human rights and international economic law, to support the green transition and address the gaps left by international climate change law. With regard to human rights, the course outlines how climate change interferes with rights enjoyment and considers the many ways in which human rights law can serve to reinforce states’ climate commitments, as well as the limitations of the human rights regime in this respect. In particular, human rights law holds key potential with regard to holding states accountable for their climate (in)action through litigation and, as such, this course analyses recent landmark cases and highlights currently unexplored grounds for litigation to this end. As regards international economic law, the course explores how climate policies can affect and be affected by international trade and investment law, pointing to conflicts and synergies between these legal regimes. This also includes an analysis of the role played by the EU’s trade and investment law and policies with respect to climate change. The international economic law part of the course will also focus specifically on international dispute settlement, featuring several case studies and discussing the role played by litigation.


The course is divided in four parts:

  1. Introduction and foundations 
  2. Human rights and climate change 
  3. International economic law and climate change 
  4. Conclusion 
Learning outcome
  • Knowledge of law and policy developments in human rights law, international trade law and international investment law to address climate change
  • Knowledge of the complexity of framing climate change as a legal problem
  • Knowledge of ongoing and future climate change litigation and litigation
  • Skills to identify and discuss the potential and limitations of international law in addressing climate change
  • Skills to respond to arguments and position themselves within the existing international law literature on climate change
  • Competence to construct legal arguments regarding responsibilities to address climate change as a matter of human rights and economic law
  • Competence to critically analyse the potential of legal regimes to address climate change with regard to its political and scientific dimensions
  • Competence to critically reflect on possible future legal developments needed to push the climate ambition of states
  • Competence to identify the potential and limitations of strategic litigation to achieve temperature goals

This course will be taught through a series of interactive lectures, incorporating group work and in-class exercises. As such, students are expected to read the assigned readings and participate actively in class.

Due to the rapidly evolving nature of the topic at hand, the literature assigned in this course features up-to-date peer reviewed articles, rather than a single textbook. This ensures that students are also exposed to a variety of perspectives on the topics under discussion. Litigation practice is key to this course and as such cases, or excerpts of cases, are also assigned in the literature list. We will ensure that the total number of pages assigned do not exceed 400 pages. 


It is illegal to share digital textbooks with each other without permission from the copyright holder

Students must be able to read and write in English. There is no need for other previous knowledge.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 1 day
Type of assessment details
Assigned written individual assignment, 1 day
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

July 22-23, 2024


August 21-22, 2024

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 178,25
  • Seminar
  • 28
  • English
  • 206,25


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master
Full Degree Master choice

1 semester

See timetable for teaching hours
Contracting department
  • Law
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Law
Course Coordinator
  • Beatriz Martinez Romera   (23-676a6679776e7f33726677796e736a7f337774726a7766456f7a7733707a336970)
Saved on the 27-10-2023

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students