1522 Law and Sustainability
Dr. Katharina Gabriela Pfaff
Contact details
Weekly hours
Language of instruction
09/09/21 to 09/27/21
Registration via LPIS
Notes to the course
Day Date Time Room
Wednesday 11/03/21 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Online-Einheit
Monday 11/08/21 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Online-Einheit
Wednesday 11/10/21 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Online-Einheit
Monday 11/15/21 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Online-Einheit
Wednesday 11/17/21 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Online-Einheit
Monday 11/22/21 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Online-Einheit
Wednesday 11/24/21 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Online-Einheit
Monday 11/29/21 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Online-Einheit
Wednesday 12/01/21 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Online-Einheit
Monday 12/06/21 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM Online-Einheit
Wednesday 12/15/21 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Online-Einheit

Sustainability is a prominent concept at both the national and international level. Its importance has recently been restated with the formulation of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. This course is offers an interdisciplinary perspective by discussing how several aspects of social, economic, and ecological sustainability are linked to national and international law, including the law of the European Union. More specifically, this course shows to what extent law can, on the one hand, promulgate sustainability and, on the other hand, retard the implementation of sustainability goals.

While this course provides a first insight into international law, which may be useful for future courses such European law or other elective courses, it does not focus on the interpretation of laws or the examination of legal application. Instead, this course follows an integrative perspective on law and sustainability encouraging business lawyers-to-be to reflect on their own professional role in society and both the possibilities and limitations of legal provisions in general.

Learning outcomes

After completing this sustainable economics and business course for lawyers, the students are able to describe different aspects of sustainability and how these aspects are linked to corresponding legal provisions - both at the national and the international level. Further, students will be aware of current (legal) pitfalls and catalysts when it comes to implementing the concept of sustainability.

Engaging in this interdisciplinary discourse on law and sustainability, students learn to assess legal provisions from different perspectives. Throughout the course, students acquire the toolkit to employ their legal education with the call for action with respect to a long-term sustainable development. They learn to suggest legal constructs such that sustainability goals can be met. Written assignments and presentations are designed to foster critical thinking. Feedback from the course instructors and lively class discussions will help students to develop these skills.

Particular emphasis is placed on teamwork skills and reflective thinking and experiential knowledge.

Attendance requirements

Examination-immanent courses (PI) have compulsory attendance. Attendance of at least 4 "live" sessions is necessary to complete the course. In case of absence, the lecture has to be informed.

"Live" sessions are scheduled for:

  • Wednesday, November 3      (synchronous online session)
  • Wednesday, November 10    (synchronous online session)
  • Wednesday, November 17    (synchronous online session)
  • Wednesday, November 24    (synchronous online session)
  • Wednesday, December 1      (presence session)
  • Wednesday, December 15    (presence session)

There are no compensation exercises for missed sessions.

Teaching/learning method(s)

Course structure

This course is planned as a hybrid course. The course consists of both presence sessions with rotation mode and online sessions.

In November, all sessions of the course will take place online. Synchronous / "live" online sessions are scheduled for Nov 3, Nov 10, Nov 17, and Nov 24. A link to the online session will be sent shortly beforehand. All other sessions, which are also labelled as "Online-Einheit" in the syllabus, are asynchronous. Asynchronous means that students receive self-study materials and tasks, which they can solve flexibly within a given time period of online session. Please note that for asynchronous sessions, times indicated in the syllabus do not apply! The time slot of asynchronous online sessions is typically open from Wednesday, noon, until Monday, noon.

In December, the course is planned with an asynchronous online session and presence sessions (Dec 1, Dec 15). In presence sesions, topics will be discussed interactively in the plenum. The attendance time in presence sessions is divided between two student groups. During the first 45 minutes of the unit, the first half of the students is present, during the second 45 minutes the second half.


Learning design

Within each session, students will read, discuss, and reflect upon legal aspects related to sustainability. In December, students will apply their understanding about legal aspects of sustainability to a self-selected case study. The course will conclude with a presentation of the case study in the last session of the course. To deepen learning experience, students also have to discuss one case study by fellow students.

Depending on the type of task in asynchronous online sessions (e.g. reading comprehension, quiz, or open question), feedback to students' solutions will be provided either as an automized text or discussed in depth in the next synchronous sessions. An online forum is available for communication during the course. Any question regarding online modules is typically answered within three working days.

The course language is English.


Course performance will be evaluated multi-dimensionally. 3 criteria are to be considered in the overall assessment:

- reflection exercises in preparation of presence or synchronous sessions (15 points),

- written essays during asynchronous online sessions (45 points), and

- presentation of a case study (40 points).


At the end of this course, points are converted to grades based on the following scale:

  • 90-100 Punkte: sehr gut
  • 80-89 Punkte: gut
  • 70-79 Punkte: befriedigend
  • 60-69 Punkte: genügend
Prerequisites for participation and waiting lists

Course enrollment is on the basis of "first come, first served" principle.

If you have registered but cannot participate in the course, please de-register via LPIS so that your spot is available to students on the waiting list. If there is a waiting list for enrollment in the course, students on the waiting list will be notified after the end of the enrollment period and will be allocated to available spots. Students will be ranked by their study progress, not by their rank on the waiting list. This procedure is, however, not to be understood as a place guarantee.

Availability of lecturer(s)
Last edited: 2021-09-27