Advanced Diploma in Planning and Environmental Law

Covid–19 course changes

All students will have the option of completing the entire course fully through distance learning in the academic year 2020–2021. Course materials and lectures will be available via our accessible Virtual Learning Environment. Students will also have access to a range of online legal databases and resources.

King’s Inns has the capacity to run all classes for the entire academic year using online learning systems if necessary and has invested in technology and training in order to ensure that the student learning experience during 2020–2021 will remain at the highest possible standard, whether teaching takes place online or in person.


This course provides a comprehensive overview of planning and environmental law, with a focus on both domestic and European law in the area.

The course will commence with an online, interactive introduction to the course by the course coordinator. There will be further interactive tutorials later in the course.

Lecture recordings will be available each week on a Thursday and students will be able to play each recording in their own time.

Should attendance in person become possible from January 2021, lectures will take place in an early morning slot (from 8.30am) on Thursday mornings and will be available via blended / online learning with all lectures recorded to facilitate any student who prefers not to attend in person. Tutorials will not be recorded but will take place in a live online format.

As with all of our advanced diploma courses, this course will be delivered by leading experts in the field and has a practical focus.


This Diploma provides participants with a comprehensive practical knowledge of Planning and Environmental Law. On completion of the course, students will be better able to explain and apply relevant statutory, common law and other provisions; use relevant legal terminology competently and correctly; apply appropriate legal principles to a range of factual scenarios; solve problems within this area of law; communicate legal arguments based on relevant legal principles; conduct legal research independently and in groups; evaluate, criticise and defend legal arguments on matters of planning and environmental law.


The course will be suitable for: local authority solicitors; planners; engineers; architects; construction managers; An Bord Pleanála inspectors; those working with NGOs; consultants; barristers and solicitors in general practice who would like to diversify into the area of planning and environmental law; and anyone working in the planning and environmental area.


The coordinator of the course is Dr David Browne BL.


Delivery is in part–time early morning mode through lectures presented by leading experts in various aspects of planning and environmental law. Lecture recordings will go live on Thursdays.

Course Start Date: October 2021.

This course is available via blended online learning, with lectures recorded using e–learning software and made available to students for streaming via our Virtual Learning Environment. An introductory session and two tutorials will take place in a live online format and will not be recorded.

Online tutorials and IT support are available to help students navigate their way through our Library and legal resource databases.

Course Content

  • Introduction to the Course – live online session, to take place on Thursday 8 October at 8.30am
  • Two interactive online tutorials, one before Christmas and one toward the end of the course
  • Introduction to Planning and Environmental Law
  • Development Plans
  • Strategic Environmental Assessment
  • Meaning of “Development”
  • Planning Applications
  • Grant of Planning Permission
  • Planning Compensation
  • Compulsory Acquisition
  • Planning Appeals
  • Strategic Development
  • Planning Enforcement
  • Judicial Review I
  • Judicial Review II
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
  • Nature Conservation
  • Substitute Consent
  • Aarhus Convention
  • Water Management
  • Waste Management
  • Environmental Crime
  • Climate Change and Emissions
  • A View from the Bench (judicial speaker)

Previous speakers on the course have included:

  • Alice Whittaker, Philip Lee
  • Alison Fanagan, A&L Goodbody
  • Aoife Carroll BL
  • Brendan Slattery, McCann Fitzgerald
  • Brian Foley SC
  • Conor Linehan, William Fry
  • Danielle Conaghan, Arthur Cox
  • David Browne BL
  • Deborah Spence, Arthur Cox
  • Dermot Flanagan SC
  • Eamon Galligan SC
  • Esmonde Keane SC
  • Fintan Valentine BL
  • James Connolly SC
  • Niall Handy BL
  • Nuala Butler SC
  • Jarlath Fitzsimons SC
  • Oisin Collins BL
  • Rachel Minch, Philip Lee
  • Rory Mulcahy SC
  • Shane Murphy SC
  • Suzanne Murray BL
  • Tom Flynn BL
  • Prof. Yvonne Scannell, TCD/Arthur Cox


To be awarded the Advanced Diploma in Planning and Environmental Law a participant will be required to successfully complete two written assessments.

Provisional assessment schedules: Assignment 1 will be released at the end of term one and assignment 2 will be released closer to the end of term 2.

COURSE FEE 2020–2021

Course fee: €2,350. View King’s Inns fee structure here.

Barrister–at–Law graduates who are subscribing members to King’s Inns receive a 10% discount on this course. View more information here.


There are no admission requirements for this course. 

Application Deadline: Applications will open up in April 2021. 

Apply here

Your place on the course will not be secured until payment is received in full.

Payment can be made through the application portal using your credit / debit card. If your employer is paying for your studies, you will require a PO number, the name and email address for the person responsible for payment in your organisation. The invoice will issue directly to the person whose details you enter. You will also be able to download a copy of the invoice through the application portal.

Receive notification when more information is available


Paula Redmond

“The Advanced Diploma in Planning and Environmental Law is invaluable to anybody working in the planning sector or dealing with planning related issues. The lecturers are knowledgeable, thoroughly experienced and willing to answer any questions or queries. Every module was highly informative with detailed notes and the convenient option to attend lectures in person or online. The course gives participants a sound knowledge of relevant statute and case law, including new developments in both legislation and the Courts. The course coordinator and supporting staff are helpful and professional.” (Class of 2019–2020)

Paula Redmond, Civil Engineer/Planning Consultant

Kieran O’Connor

“Over the past number of years in Ireland, the Irish Legal System has witnessed an increase in complex ligation cases, challenges to planning decisions and judicial reviews all pertaining to Environmental Law. This course provides a great insight into the complexity of these issues and how careful one must be when navigating through the Irish Planning Process. For me, the course provided me with a better understanding of the most recent Irish and European Environmental Law that could potential affect planning decisions (e.g Habitats Directive), and how I should approach planning applications for the industry I currently work in.” (Class of 2019–2020)

Kieran O’Connor, Environmental and Regulatory Adviser (Oil and Gas)