About the International Focus Programme

The International Focus Programme which is also known as IFP aims at raising awareness of a specific theme for whole ELSA Network over a fixed term. In this way, ELSA creates a forum where law students and young lawyers can combine their efforts, discuss and participate in various activities within a current theme. Likewise, it consolidates work and achievements of all ELSA groups, is reflected in concrete high standard results and gives an opportunity for law students to raise a voice and show up the diversity of their opinions and ideas.

This specific theme should be a “hot legal topic” chosen by the Council. This legal topic should be versatile, thereby representing ELSA’s cultural diversity; internationally relevant; with academic discussion potential and with impact on everyday life. The point of the International Focus Programme is therefore to get all the local and national groups of our Network to start organising events around the same topic; if done properly, this can become a major factor in forming the general opinion and mindset of young lawyers and law students. Most notably, it can help ensure that problematic issues of a certain topic are treated from a legal point of view. ELSA wants to have an impact on students and young lawyers and in society.

Environmental Law as the topic for the International Focus Programme

The present “hot legal topic” chosen is Environmental Law. The chosen theme considers that we, as law students and young lawyers, can have an impact on the environment we are living in, on the development of our own countries, Europe and even the world by giving law students and young lawyers all over Europe a voice. Humanity has had a constant inpact on environment and with International Focus Pogramme we can contribute to give law students and young lawyers an education sometimes out of their university curricula, giving the oportunity to create a better wold. Therefore, this International Focus Program on Environmental Law has two goals: firstly, to reassert the primary goals of ELSA, which are to encourage young lawyers and law students to fully realise their role in the forming of society and help them be up to the challenge; and secondly, to bring their attention on the long-neglected, yet essential legal topic that is Environmental Law. Environmental Law is a body of Law which regulates human activities which have an impact on the natural environment and thereby endanger it if left unregulated. Environmental Law also regulates and plans human activities that aim to preserve and replenish the environment. Environmental law it is wide and there are a lot of sub-topics. Such as:

  • Environmental protection law
    • Ocean and marine sources
    • Ozone and protection of the atmosphere
    • Protection of species and wildlife
    • Ecosystems and forests
  • Pollution law
    • Water and ground water
    • Air
    • Soil
  • General environmental law
    • National
    • European Union
    • Regional
    • International
  • Waste management law
    • Nuclear waste
    • Hazardous waste
    • Chemical safety
  • Sustainable development law


  • Climate change


  • Trade & Environmental law


  • Energy law
The history of the International Focus Programme

The International Focus Programme was introduced in 1995 to provide the ELSA network an opportunity to work together on different “hot legal topics”. There have been different specific themes since its introduction:

  • “A Just World: A new role for lawyers, legal education and law in development” (1995-1997)


  • “The Law of Peace in the year 2000 – current violations and effective enforcement of international law; the reform of international organisations” (1997-1999)


  • “Information Society – the Legal Challenges: Application of New Technologies, Protection of Individuals and the Legislative Response” (2000-2002)


  • Trade Law – a Way for Sustainable Development” (2003-2005)


  • “25 Years of Legal Development: UN in the 21st century; Environmental Law; harmonisation of the EU Law in the transition of Legal Systems” (2006-2007)


  • Intellectual Property Law” (2007 – 2010)


  • “Health Law” (2010-2012)


  • “Media Law” (2012-2015)


  • “Environmental Law” (2016-Today)
IFP Week

ELSA will coordinate the work for all the network regarding International Focus Programme by hosting IFP weeks. Similarly to ELSA day, we want to organise all the network and work together to realise a unique Environmental law forum and implement environment rights. This forum consists of coordinated ELSA events, organised for local and national groups and ELSA international.

Each National Group has chosen a week in April, in which they will host their respective IFP Week and organise related events. Contact your National Group to find out more!

For more information contact us at: seminarsconferences@elsa.org.