While this Master’s addresses complex issues like climate and biodiversity crises, it instills a sense of hope

In my search for the perfect Master’s, I discovered this LLM programme that far exceeded my expectations. This programme covers a wide range of environmental and climate protection issues while providing a robust legal analysis. Throughout the year, I was able to specialise in the topics I was more interested in by 1) choosing the assignment topics, 2) selecting the Capita Selecta crash courses and 3) choosing the research thesis topic. This allowed me to delve deeply into subjects I had always been passionate about. Recognising the diverse roles lawyers play in today's society, this programme prepared us for various tasks, from writing blog posts and participating in moot courts to making policy recommendations and commenting on CJEU cases. At the same time, it involves a strong rigorous academic research.
The professors, who are both young and renowned experts, are incredibly committed to the class and the environmental cause, which, in my experience, is a rarity for Law professors. They are very friendly and professional and provided us with constructive feedback. Moreover, Utrecht frequently hosts environmental and human rights conferences, which allowed me to connect with very interesting people. While this Master’s addresses complex issues like climate and biodiversity crises, it instills a sense of hope. It was by learning about the existing legal tools to address these challenges and innovative legal theories, that I completed the program feeling more empowered to combat these crises than when I began.

Júlia Isern Bennassar (Mallorca, Spain)
LLM Law and Sustainability in Europe

The programme approaches sustainability from a multi-dimensional perspective

While I had the ambition to move to a far and big city for my Master’s programme, I’m happy that I studied in the small and quaint city of Utrecht, as the quality of this LLM was exceptional. Given the EU’s frontrunner position in the global sustainability transition and the importance of tackling this crisis at our doorstep, I appreciated the programme’s multi-layered approach to EU law. Looking at the value of EU law relative to more abstract international instruments, as well as its limits in the face of possibly more effective national legislation offered a holistic perspective on this complex challenge.
As the field of sustainability law is still largely developing, the LLM teaches you to adopt a critical perspective, recognising the innovative power of the law in pursuing sustainable development, but also its limits given its complex and highly political context. The programme therefore necessarily approaches sustainability from a multi-dimensional perspective, requiring consideration of the law in its societal context. While ‘sustainability law’ is a rather niche field of law still, it permeates many existing legal domains, teaching students to be versatile. Beyond the broad range of skills taught in this Master’s, I believe that this ability to quickly familiarise yourself with different topics and legal areas is the greatest takeaway from this Master’s.
The field’s fast development makes you feel the direct relevance and purpose of what you’re studying. While students learn from experienced and engaged professors, professors also learn from students, discussing for example the latest developments in national jurisdictions. The programme certainly taught me the skills for continued learning in this field and enabled me to develop among like-minded people, which not only made for a motivating and inspiring environment but also for great friendships.

Jil Wenner (Luxembourg)
LLM Law and Sustainability in Europe

Develop critical thinking and integrate the principles of sustainable development into legal practice

Sustainability is enshrined in Article 3(3) of the Treaty on European Union: it builds on “... a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment”. To implement this, the EU has mainstreamed sustainable development into a broad range of its policies and taken the lead in the fight against climate change and pollution, in particular. At the same time, unsustainable trends persist in many areas, and efforts need to be intensified to ensure compliance with EU environmental norms and policies. In my view, the new Law and Sustainability in Europe Master’s programme at Utrecht University comes at the right time for younger generations to develop their critical thinking and integrate the principles of sustainable development into legal practice.

Sarah Ziane
Deputy Head Environmental Implementation at the European Commission