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Biodiversity Law


Admission requirements

The course can be followed by law students, students from other relevant disciplines and exchange students. A basic understanding of environmental law is helpful but not required.


Conservation biologists warn that we are in the middle of a great extinction crisis, with millions of species about to disappear due to habitat destruction, climate change, and other anthropogenic factors. Biodiversity Law is an emerging field, examining how we are (and should be) constructing legal regimes to conserve Earth’s endangered forms of life across multiple levels. We will study EU laws and examine how the EU interacts with individual European nations to manage protected ecosystems and species. We will also examine the approaches that other nations, including the United States, take to preserving biodiversity, and examine international law (including treaty law). We will look at how law is and is not succeeding in preserving life on Earth, paying particular attention to most effective legal practices to conserve biodiversity.

Course objectives

Objectives of the course:

By the end of the term each student should:

  • Be able to critically analyse, interpret, and assess how laws do and do not successfully confront multiple, interconnected threats to biodiversity;

  • Name the primary tenets of the EU’s biodiversity legal framework and explain how compliance with the EU’s biodiversity laws work;

  • Critically reflect on the legal strengths and weaknesses of an “endangered species” approach to managing biodiversity;

  • Explain and be able to apply the primary tenets of international agreements to conserve biodiversity;

  • For a given biological entity (e.g. a particular population, species, ecosystem), be able to assess how domestic and international law may work together to provide a safety net for that biological unit;

  • Critically evaluate the role of market mechanisms for preserving biodiversity;

  • Cite pertinent, foreign domestic legal protections for biodiversity protection, and critique these as models for how other nations might manage biodiversity resources;


The timetable of this course can be found in uSis.

Mode of instruction


  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: 10

  • Names of lecturers: Professor David Takacs

  • Required preparation by students: reading of literature/case law before class meetings and prepare assignments for discussion

Assessment method

Examination form(s)
Written exam (English)
*A take home essay examination

Areas to be tested within the exam
The examination will test mastery of the required reading (literature) for the course and the material covered in the lectures.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials
Literature: readings to be posted on Brightspace

Course information guide:

  • Outline as posted on Brightspace


  • To be announced on Brightspace

Recommended course materials

  • To be announced on Brightspace*


Students have to register for courses and exams through uSis.

Contact information

  • Coordinator: Anette van Sandwijk

  • Work address:

  • Telephone number:

  • E-mail:


A maximum of 25 students can participate in this course.