CAN NATURE GET IT RIGHT? A Study on Rights of Nature in the European Context

01-03-2021

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee, explores the concept of “Rights of Nature” (RoN) and its different aspects in legal philosophy and international agreements, as well as in legislation and case-law on different levels. The study delves on the ideas of rights of nature in comparison with rights to nature, legal personhood and standing in court for natural entities, and analyses ECtHR and CJEU case-law on access to justice in environmental decision-making. It emphasises, in particular, the need to strengthen the requirements for independent scientific evaluations in certain permit regimes under EU law. The study also highlights the crucial importance of promoting the role of civil society as watchdog over the implementation of EU environmental law by way of a wider access to justice via both the national courts and the CJEU, which is also in line with the political priorities for delivering the European Green Deal.

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee, explores the concept of “Rights of Nature” (RoN) and its different aspects in legal philosophy and international agreements, as well as in legislation and case-law on different levels. The study delves on the ideas of rights of nature in comparison with rights to nature, legal personhood and standing in court for natural entities, and analyses ECtHR and CJEU case-law on access to justice in environmental decision-making. It emphasises, in particular, the need to strengthen the requirements for independent scientific evaluations in certain permit regimes under EU law. The study also highlights the crucial importance of promoting the role of civil society as watchdog over the implementation of EU environmental law by way of a wider access to justice via both the national courts and the CJEU, which is also in line with the political priorities for delivering the European Green Deal.