Right to Environment
The grant project on the right to environment has been finished. You can see the overview of all project outputs in the section Project outcomes here.
June 2018: Final book on the right to environment released and the whole of the triptych published in print.
Hana Müllerová: Právo na příznivé životní prostředí: Zkušenosti vybraných evropských zemí a návrhy pro budoucí uplatňování v ČR. [Right to Environment: Experience of the Selected European Countries and Suggestions for its Future Application in the Czech Republic.] Praha: Ústav státu a práva AV ČR, 2018, 236 p. ISBN 978-80-87439-34-0, 978-80-87439-35-7 (e-book).
In its first part, the book "Right to Environment: Experience of the Selected European Countries and Suggestions for its Future Application in the Czech Republic" presents to the Czech readers the results of a deeper analysis of the constitutional provisions, interpretation and application of the right to environment in France, Belgium, Finland, Spain and Portugal. Regarding each country, the author deals with the formulation of the right in the relevant constitutional text, its position within the human rights catalogue, its character and applicability, including the development of the interpretation of these issues in courts. Moreover, she gives examples of the case law if there are any.
In the second part, the book summarizes the current state of affairs in the interpretation and application of the right to environment in the Czech Republic, which is rather dismal despite its quarter-century recognition in the Czech Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. Then the author proposes her model of the future enforcement of the right, based on the adaptation of the pattern that the Czech Constitutional Court has already developed for the economic, social and cultural rights, to the specific character of the values protected through the constitutional right to environment. She builds her scheme of the application of the right to environment on the following elements: determining the essential core of the right to environment; differentiating the way of the right’s review according to the types of the infringements to the right; and the modification of the rationality test when compared to its application in the economic, social and cultural rights.
The e-book (in Czech) is available here.
In print, the triptych on the right to environment is available in a paper box (here)
May 2018: Article on the right to environment and proportionality published
The article of Hana Müllerová with the title "Right to Environment, Balancing of Competing Interests and Proportionality" was published in The Lawyer Quarterly No. 2/2018. The text is available here.
December 2016: The collective volume on the interpretation of the right to environment released
H. Müllerová a kol. Právo na příznivé životní prostředí: Nové interpretační přístupy. [H. Müllerová et al. Right to a favourable environment: New Interpretative Approaches]. Praha: Ústav státu a práva AV ČR, 2016. 288 s. ISBN 978-80-87439-29-6.
The book “Right to Environment: New Interpretative Approaches” presents the current trends in how the right to environment is interpreted in the doctrine and courts in the Czech Republic, after the interpretational shift in the case law in 2014 accompanied by legislative amendments in the field of access to justice in environmental matters in 2015. In the Czech Republic, the environmental right was constitutionally incorporated in 1993, which raised many expectations among the public to join the environmental protection through this new type of legal instrument of the highest legislative level. Article 35 (1) of the Czech Constitutional Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms states that “Everyone has the right to a favourable environment.” However, the right to environment remained hardly unapplied for a long time, owing to several legislative and interpretative factors that made the right practically unenforceable.
The interpretational shift came in 2014 with the judgment of the Czech Constitutional Court of 30 May 2014 (No. I. ÚS 59/14). In this ground-breaking decision, the Constitutional Justices were commenting on the role of environmental NGOs in a democratic society as highly positive. Regarding the right to environment, the decision emphasized that it would not be correct to deny the environmental NGOs the chance to defend the environment. It stressed that these NGOs are created by individuals to protect their own right to a favourable environment. Moreover, the Act No. 100/2001 Coll. on environmental impact assessment was amended considerably in 2015 enabling the environmental NGOs to take part in the whole range of proceedings subsequent to EIA procedure, to appeal to higher administrative authorities against administrative decisions taken in these procedures, and to bring lawsuits to administrative courts against their final decisions (permits, licences, authorizations…) subsequent to the EIA procedure.
This new development served as the starting point to our book describing the new interpretative approaches to the right to environment in the Czech Republic. It is the right time to draw on the challenges brought by both the case-law and the new legislation and to think thoroughly of the concept of the right to environment under the Czech Constitution and its practical implementation. The described changes mean that the environmental NGOs now can finally claim the right to environment in courts. Our collection of chapters tries to face the challenge of interpreting various aspects of the environmental right in a complex way.
The book (in Czech) is available here.
January 2016: The book on theoretical aspect of the right to environment released
Hana Müllerová: Právo na životní prostřed - Teoretické aspekty [Right to Environment - Theoretical Aspects.] Prague: Institute of State and Law of the Czech Academy of Sciences, 2015, 125 p.
The book The Right to Environment: Theoretical Aspects presents to Czech readers the human right to environment from the perspective of rights' and human rights' theory. Within the Czech environmental law writing this presents a new approach, trying to build a theoretical background for further developing the concept of a human right related to environmental quality. The author examines whether the concept of such a new human right, that still suffers from ambiguity and lack of clarity may compare to traditional human rights and may make a relevant part of the human rights catalogue.
The first part of the book deals with several key issues necessary for a successful building the concept of the right to environment as a human right, especially with the existence and justification of human rights and possible ways of recognizing new human rights. Secondly, the book considers the possible position of the right to environment within the generations of human rights, the personal scope of the right and possible content elements of it. Within this part, the author pays closer attention to three subtopics that have not yet been treated in detail in the Czech environmental law theory: 1. to possible solutions to the anthropocentrism ever-present in human rights as such and making the most serious obstacle to recognizing the right to environment in the full sense of the word “environment” here; 2. to balancing the environmental protection interests against the economic and social interests within the concept of sustainability; 3. to intergenerational solidarity and future generations' rights.
The book is intended to environmental law theorists and students who would like to have a deeper insight in the interlinkages between human rights and the environment. Within the Czech environmental law debate, it brings an important contribution in the developing field of environmental rights.
The book (in Czech) is available here.
Conference on human right to environment
On 16 October 2015 the conference „Human right to environment“ was held at the Czech Academy of Sciences as a part of the grant project of the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic No. 14-32244S "Human right to environment in national law: advanced theory, poor practice?".
The conference focused on the interconnections between human rights and the environment, both in theory and in the Czech judicial case law. In 2014, there was a significant shift in the interpretation of the right to a favourable environment recognized under the Czech Constitution in the Czech Constitutional Court that accepted for the first time an environmental NGO as a subject claiming the right. The participants to the conference commented on this positive interpretational change and considered future prospects of the right in the Czech Republic. The conference gave an opportunity for environmental law theorists and other academicians, justices, and also environmental NGOs members to meet and share their experience with both theory and practice of legal environmental protection.
Photo from the conference:
Photo: Miloslava Hálová
Hana Müllerová, the Grant Project of the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic No. 14-32244S "Human Right to Environment in National Law: Advanced Theory, Poor Practice?"