Relationship between International Environmental Law and other branches of International Law

Alan Boyle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


International environmental law is neither a separate nor a self-contained system or sub-system of law. Rather, it is simply part of international law as a whole. It is true that many ‘environmental’ treaties and other legal instruments have been negotiated over the past half-century, and that the study of international environmental law is to a significant extent a study of these treaties and other instruments. Nevertheless, unlike World Trade Organisation (WTO) law, the law of the sea, or human rights law, international environmental law has never been systematically codified into a single treaty or group of treaties. There is neither a dedicated international environmental organisation nor an international dispute settlement process with the ability to give it coherence. This article provides the link between international environmental law and WTO law, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity, environment and human rights, and dispute settlement and applicable law.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of International Environmental Law
EditorsDaniel Bodansky, Jutta Brunnee, Ellen Hey
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)019926970X, 9780199552153
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Publication series

NameOxford Handbooks in Law


  • environmental law
  • WTO law
  • human rights
  • integration
  • interpretation
  • priority of treaties


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