Advanced Diploma in Planning and Environmental Law

Page last updated: Tuesday, May 28, 2024


This course provides participants with a comprehensive practical knowledge of Planning and Environmental Law, which will be relevant to professionals who are involved in advising on planning and strategic infrastructure applications, enforcement issues, development plans and strategic planning, waste management and climate resilience and adaptation.


This Advanced Diploma provides participants with a comprehensive practical knowledge of Planning and Environmental Law. 

On completion of the course, you will be better able to:

  1. Explain and apply relevant statutory, common law and other provisions; 
  2. Use relevant legal terminology competently and correctly; 
  3. Apply appropriate legal principles to a range of factual scenarios;
  4. Solve problems within this area of law; 
  5. Communicate legal arguments based on relevant legal principles; 
  6. Conduct legal research independently and in groups; 
  7. Evaluate, criticise and defend legal arguments on matters of planning and environmental law.


This Advanced Diploma attracts planners, engineers, architects and construction managers, An Bord Pleanála inspectors, those working with NGOs, local authority professionals, 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.

Having a diverse group of professionals studying this course together allows participants to learn from each other, especially during tutorials and Q&A sessions.

“The course provided a comprehensive means to locate, interpret and make relevant various aspects of the law and decisions which relate to a number of projects undertaken by environmental consultants. 

The course was particularly appealing because it was being taught by top legal professionals who are participating in cases where outcomes are potentially defining the future of environmental and planning law in Ireland.”

2022 Graduate


This course was designed by Dr David Browne SC. The course coordinator and lead lecturer / tutor is Cathal Lenaghan BL

Cathal specialises in planning and environmental policy, and practices in the general practice and judicial review areas.


This course takes place in an online format only, live via Zoom, with recordings of lectures available after class is over. Interactive elements such as class discussions / tutorials will not be recorded and will be cast live only.

The course takes place over approx. 22 weeks from October to May, with lectures on Thursdays from 8.30 am to 10 am.

Course Start Date: Thursday, October 17, 2024

Classes are recorded using eLearning software and made available to students for streaming via our Virtual Learning Environment (Moodle). This means that, while all students are welcome to attend class live via Zoom, most of the sessions will be recorded so that students who are unable to attend can catch up on the material by streaming the video in their own time.

All class notes are available to read through our Virtual Learning Environment. Online tutorials and IT support are available to help students navigate their way through our library and legal resource databases.

King’s Inns is built on networking and engagement. Over the year, we invite students to attend and participate in various social events, fireside chats and talks. Events take place either online or in–person. All of this contributes to the learning experience that is King’s Inns.

Course Content

  • Course overview and introduction (live session, not recorded)
  • 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 + II
  • Environmental impact assessment (EIA)
  • Nature conservation
  • Substitute consent
  • Aarhus convention
  • Water management
  • Waste management
  • Environmental crime
  • Climate change and emissions
  • Two live online tutorials, one before Christmas and one toward the end of the course (live sessions, not recorded)
  • A view from the Bench – judicial speaker (live session, not recorded)

Please note the course content is subject to change in accordance with new developments in this area.

Previous Speakers

  • 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 SC
  • James Connolly SC
  • Niall Handy BL
  • Jarlath Fitzsimons SC
  • Oisin Collins SC
  • Rachel Minch, Philip Lee
  • Rory Mulcahy SC
  • Shane Murphy SC
  • Suzanne Murray SC
  • Tom Flynn BL
  • Prof. Yvonne Scannell, TCD/Arthur Cox


This is a professional development course and it is accredited independently by The Honorable Society of King’s Inns. The skills and competence gained in studying at King’s Inns are transferable, portable and recognised internationally. It is a valuable qualification delivered by distinguished lawyers, members of the judiciary, legal and other practitioners specialising in legal education.

To be awarded the Advanced Diploma, a participant is required to successfully complete one assessment.

Note: The timetable and assessment information are subject to change in 2024. Details will be confirmed and updated soon. 


  • Course fee: €2,850. 
  • You should view the fee structure, payment terms, and other charges here >

Barrister–at–Law graduates who are subscribing members to King’s Inns receive a 10% discount on this course. You must receive your discount code before applying. View more information here >


There are no admission requirements for this course. A place on the highly sought–after course is not secured until the tuition fee is received in full. Once payment is received, you are automatically accepted on the course.


Application Deadline: Midnight (Irish time) on Thursday, September 26, 2024

  • In order to verify your personal details, you must first create an account on the Application Portal through the ‘register and apply here’ button below. Once you verify your email address in the Portal, you can then proceed with your application. 
  • The application process is very short and your place on the course will not be secured until payment is received in full. Once payment is received, you are automatically accepted on the course.
  • Payment can be made through the Application Portal using your credit or debit card (please make sure your bank allows you to process the full payment in one go), or 
  • If your employer is paying for your studies, you will require a valid PO number in advance of making the application, 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. The participant will also be able to download a copy of the invoice through the Application Portal. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure their employer has paid in full within the timeframe required in order to secure a place. King’s Inns cannot contact your employer for payment, we can only liaise with the applicant.
  • An automated payment receipt will be generated confirming your place on the course.
  • Subscribing members: You must apply your discount code upon application. It cannot be applied after the application is made. 

Apply here

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Planning and Environmental Law Graduate 2023

“I would recommend the course to practising planners who are trying to keep up with planning and environmental law while also very busy at work. The lecturers are of high calibre and worth listening to. The notes are second to none.”

Class of 2022–2023

Planning and Environmental Law Graduate 2022

“This is a very interesting course, lectured by experts in the respective topics. As an engineer, it gave me a great insight into planning and environmental law and a deeper understanding which will help me in my work.”

Class of 2021–2022