Webinar: EU Environmental Principles and Scientific Uncertainty before National Courts—the Case of the Habitats Directive

A full understanding of how courts handle complex scientific questions is essential to appreciating the dynamics of environmental law. The Habitats and the Birds Directive—the core of EU nature conservation law—are usually seen the most ‘uniform’ parts of EU environmental law. Upcoming volume "EU Environmental Principles and Scientific Uncertainty before National Courts—the Case of the Habitats Directive" (Hart 2021) analyses the case law from 11 EU current and former Member States’ courts and explores the dynamics of how, and crucially why, their understandings of scientific uncertainty, on the one hand, and EU environmental principles on the other, vary.

The courts’ scope and depth of review, access to scientific knowledge, and scientific literacy all influence such decisions—as does their interpretation of norms and principles. How have the courts evaluated scientific evidence, encompassing its essential uncertainties? Comparative analysis is critical to appreciation of the range of judicial responses to scientific questions and how this affects the constitutional relationships within the administrative state and the implementation of EU environmental law at national level. Comparative environmental law is the next frontier of environmental law scholarship, and the upcoming book represents an important component thereof.

The book is co-edited by Mariolina Eliantonio (Maastricht University), Emma Lees (University of Cambridge) and Tiina Paloniitty (University of Helsinki). This webinar offers us a glimpse to the upcoming book, discussing the preliminary chapters.

For registration and questions, please contact Tiina Paloniitty (tiina.paloniitty@helsinki.fi).

Time: Monday 11th – Friday 15th January, each day at 10 am – 12 noon CET (Brussels time)

Via: Zoom

All registered participants will receive Zoom meeting link and password from the organisers before the conference. The same Zoom link is valid every day. Please do not share the Zoom meeting link and password you receive with anyone.

The event is not recorded and can be attended only as a live stream.

10.00

Introduction to the project – Mariolina Eliantonio

10.15

Chapter 1: ‘Science‘ in Court—The Importance of Specificity, Emma Lees and Tiina Paloniitty

10.35

Chapter 2: The CJEU’s Approach to Scientific and Factual Matters in the Habitats Directive, Augustin Garcia Ureta

10.55–12.00

Discussion

10:00

Germany – Wolfgang Köck

10:20

Finland – Tiina Paloniitty and Hanna Nieminen-Finne

10:40

Lithuania – Jurgita Paužaitė-Kulvinskienė and Indrė Žvaigždinienė    

11:00–12

Discussion

10:00

Netherlands – Floor Fleurke

10:20

Ireland – Áine Ryall

10:40

Italy – Roberto Caranta

11:00–12

Discussion

10:00

Greece – Konstantinos Gogos

10:20

United Kingdom – Catherine Caine and Richard Broadbent

10:40

Hungary – Katalin Sulyok

11:00–12

Discussion

10:00

Romania – Dacian Dragos and Bogdana Neamtu

10:20

France – François-Vivien Guiot

10:40

Australia – Brian J. Preston

11:00–12

Discussion and Conclusions