European Environmental Law
Full course description
Environmental law has emerged as an extremely dynamic field of law, particularly in view of the urgent need to develop adequate legal approaches to deal with various transboundary and global environmental problems. This course addresses the role of EU law in protecting human health and the natural environment against the (potentially) damaging effects of pollution. The global problem of climate change and the regulatory responses to this by the EU serves as a central focus: the EU has tried to establish itself as a global leader to fight climate change and has adopted an impressive package of secondary legislation addressing greenhouse gas emissions, with a prominent role for market-based regulation in order to reach efficient outcomes. The course will identify what specific responsibilities rest on Member States in this respect. Meanwhile, Environmental nongovernmental organisations (ENGOs) have got stronger legal rights, including access to information and access to justice, and climate and other environmental litigation is on the rise.
The course covers:
- EU competences for environmental decision-making and the possibilities for Member States to adopt (more stringent) regulatory action;
- the interplay between international environmental law and EU environmental law; particular attention will go to international climate treaty law and international regulation of environmental procedural rights, and how this impacts EU law;
- human rights (ECHR) and the environment, sustainable development and the right of future generations, and procedural rights for environmental organisations and potential victims;
- regulatory instruments for reducing the polluting behaviour of industries, with attention to the market-based instrument known as “emissions trading”;
- enforcement of environmental law in view of EU secondary legislation establishing liability of polluters.
The main objectives of this course are that the student:
- acquires knowledge of the main characteristics, developments, strengths and weaknesses of European environmental law;
- understands the relationship between international and European environmental law, in particular in the field of climate change and in the field of procedural rights;
- is capable to identify environmental procedural rights, and is capable of determining legal strategies for improving environmental protection;
- can apply his/her knowledge on true-life environmental cases (particularly climate change);
- can develop a critical analysis (both orally and on paper) of concrete environmental law developments, in particular governmental policies and regulations and court decisions
Bachelor-level based knowledge of European law is strongly recommended.
A reader with environmental legal texts will be provided. In addition, materials are provided electronically by means of an e-reference list. Furthermore, the course book refers to useful documents and articles.