Climate change and the environment
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ELI Series on the Conference on the Future of Europe: Climate Justice – New Challenges for Law and Judges
In Europe and beyond, NGOs and citizens are demanding more action from governments concerning climate change and are bringing new cases before the courts. While specific legal rules already exist, they might not be adequate to tackle the increasingly urgent challenges; moreover, their implementation by judges often seems questionable from a rule of law perspective.
Climate change problems are of cross-border nature, and the courts must address extra-territorial issues as well as questions related to both private international and public international law. Furthermore, the interface and overlap between international legal instruments, EU rules, European human rights law, national constitutional law, private law, public law, and criminal law, pose crucial methodological challenges for the courts. Indeed, they must in their legal reasoning find a balance between these different levels of law.
The risk is that different methodological approaches can result in legal uncertainty to the detriment of citizens’ legitimate expectations under the rule of law. The question is whether courts can find and/or create a common ground for improved judicial cooperation in their methodological approaches to the climate change problems in order to ensure improved legal certainty at European level.
Similarly, while legislators may have ideas for new statutory rules for individuals, private entities and public administration, they need to understand what the problems might be at the level of implementation, especially by courts.
This event will aim at discussing the new challenges for legislators and judges relating to environmental sustainability and climate justice and addressing the most pressing issues, such as access to justice (who should have the right to stand and subject to which requirements?) and how should judges balance individuals’ rights, both those under climate threat and those who benefit from traditional constitutional rights (eg the right of ownership).
The webinar will provide ample opportunity for those present to contribute to the debate. After a brief introduction of the webinar’s topic, registrants will be able to share their views by participating in polls as well as responding to and raising other key questions relevant to the webinar’s theme. A report, outlining discussions and featuring any collectively agreed proposals will be drafted after the event and submitted to the European Parliament, Council and the European Commission via the Conference on the Future of Europe platform for further reflection.
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