CASELAP has its origins in a recommendation made by a committee of the University Council on 10th July 2002, that some thought be given to establishment of a programme in environmental studies which does not duplicate those that were available in the country at the time. Considerations were given to existing academic programmes in Kenyan universities with the conclusion that an academic programme focused on Environmental law, Policy and Diplomacy to promote scholarship and capacity building in environmental governance would fill a desperately urgent cognate gap.
On September 20, 2007 the University Council approved establishment of the Centre for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP) as a faculty level unit committed to teaching, research and outreach in the important field of environmental governance, comprising environmental law, policy and diplomacy at national and international levels. Its lecturers are to be experts in the respective areas. CASELAP academic programmes are exclusively postgraduate. Such disciplines were carefully selected for membership in CASELAP Management Board identified in the University Statutes, and will be called upon for specialized advisory services which support law, policy and diplomacy.
In October 2010, CASELAP admitted the pioneer class to the Master of Arts in Environmental Policy degree programme. Other students were admitted in subsequent intakes to the programme in October 2011 and October 2012. The Centre later launched and admitted students to a Master of Arts in Environmental Law degree programme in October 2011, with the second intake to the programme in October 2012. The Centre also launched a Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Policy degree programme in October 2011, with the second intake to the programme in October 2012.
The three degree programmes were launched upon due process as established by the governing organs of the University of Nairobi.