Introduction to Law for the Life and Social Sciences


About this course

What are the goals of the law and why is it not always easy to achieve them? How can the law affect land and marine ecosystems? What is the correlation between environment and trade, and how do international and European laws tackle it? How do international organisations ensure the biodiversity protection of the seas? Why does the European Union (EU) regulate climate, water, biodiversity, energy, waste, consumer relations, and a variety of other fields? How are EU laws adopted and what factors influence the law-making? How can the States transpose EU laws to accomplish common goals? And what is the role of the judiciary within such an intricate nest of actors?

Law forms the visible, and often invisible, backdrop to our societal practices, rules and values. In order to provide effective answers to questions related to environmental and technological regulation, it is essential to have an understanding of the laws governing these issues, the institutional processes leading to their adoption, the variety of interests behind them and the multitude of actors playing a role in their enforcement, including the judiciary.

In terms of content, this course provides students without a prior legal background with a well-rounded introduction to the meaning of basic legal terms, rules, principles, and institutional frameworks in law-making and law enforcement at the national, EU, and International level. Moreover, the course enables students to provide an opinion on the application of environmental and marine laws to solve local and global environmental problems, and to reflect on the correlation between trade and the environment.

In terms of methodology, the course covers essential legal skills for students willing to do research projects directly and indirectly related to law: (A) legal database research, (B) case-law analysis, (C) legal argumentation and the role of scientific evidence, and (D) legal writing and legislative drafting.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • Explain the meaning of basic legal terms
  • Categorise and compare national, European, and international systems of laws
  • Analyse the process to develop EU laws and how this process is influenced
  • Use legal databases to search relevant sources of law
  • Read, interpret and make use of legal documents to analyse and solve cases
  • Discuss a judicial decision in a written commentary
  • Understand how to use the law to design innovative solutions for local and global environmental problems

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Wageningen University.


  • Start date

    2 September 2024

    • Ends
      25 October 2024
    • Term *
      Period 1
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      1 Jun, 00:00 - 4 Aug 2024
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University