Portail universitaire du droit

Rights of Nature : Opening the Academic Debate in the European Legal Context

Colloque

Rights of Nature : Opening the Academic Debate in the European Legal Context

Du lundi 14 octobre 2019 au mardi 15 octobre 2019

Présentation

 

L’idée d’attribuer la personnalité juridique à la nature, et plus largement de lui reconnaître des « droits », est ancienne. Elle a été émise pour la première fois par un auteur américain, Christopher Stone, dans un article célèbre « Should trees have standing ? » paru en 1972. Par la suite, cette idée est restée plus ou moins lettre morte en pratique. Ce n’est qu’à partir de la fin des années 2000 qu’elle a véritablement fait son entrée dans le droit positif, d’abord dans la Constitution de l’Équateur en 2008, puis progressivement dans d’autres pays du monde (Bolivie, Inde, Nouvelle Zélande, etc.). L’aggravation de la crise écologique, des circonstances politiques particulières ainsi que la tradition animiste de ces pays expliquent en grande partie ce retour sur le devant de la scène juridique.

Cette idée de reconnaître des droits à la nature est longtemps apparue saugrenue au regard de la tradition juridique française et européenne. La nature est un objet, non un sujet, et fait l’objet d’une protection juridique par le biais de normes imposant des obligations aux humains à son égard. Les États membres de l’Union européenne ont en effet principalement choisi, pour améliorer la protection juridique de l’environnement, d’adopter des normes objectives élevées en matière d’environnement et de ratifier la convention d’Aarhus, élargissant ainsi l’accès à la justice environnementale. Néanmoins, depuis le retour en force de la théorie des droits de la nature et compte tenu de l’insuffisance du droit de l’environnement pour faire face à l’ampleur de la crise écologique, des voix s’élèvent en Europe pour qu’à leur tour les États européens reconnaissent la nature comme sujet de droit.

Le débat mérite donc d’être ouvert, les uns considérant qu’il s’agit là d’un moyen pertinent pour améliorer la protection juridique de l’environnement, les autres critiquant l’inutilité d’une telle initiative. En particulier, l’objet de ce colloque est d’évaluer l’intérêt d’un tel changement de paradigme juridique (de la nature objet à la nature sujet) dans le contexte qui est celui du droit des États européens.

The idea of attributing a legal personality to nature, and more broadly of recognizing its "rights", has increasingly being mentioned in the public debate. This idea is however not new and was first introduced in 1972 by a Professor of law in California, Christopher Stone, in a famous article provocatively entitled "Should trees have standing ?". Although a judge at the US Supreme Court mentioned the idea in a dissenting opinion, it never came to be seriously considered in lawmaking. It is in the beginning of the 21st century that the idea finally entered positive law, first in the Constitution of Ecuador in 2008, then in Bolivia in 2010 and subsequently in some other countries (e.g. Colombia, India, New Zealand).

The idea of recognizing rights to nature has long seemed purposeless in the light of the European legal tradition. Nature was always supposed to be an object, not a subject, and enjoys a legal protection only through standards imposing human obligations regarding its use or non-use. For example, Member States of the EU have adopted high environmental standards in various treaties, directives or regulations and ratified the Aarhus Convention, thereby broadening access to environmental justice. Nevertheless, since the resurgence of the idea of rights of nature and considering that existing environmental laws do not appear to halt the unfolding ecological crisis, more voices are asking Western countries to recognize nature as a subject of law, including in the EU.

It is therefore very timely to revisit the debate of whether nature can have legal rights. For some, rights of nature are a highly relevant approach to improve the legal protection of the environment, while for others, this initiative is a false hope unlikely to deliver any positive outcomes for the environment. The conference “RIGHTS OF NATURE: Opening the Academic Debate in the European Legal Context” aims to provide a forum to discuss this proposed change of legal paradigm in the European legal context.

 

Programme

 

Monday, October 14

 

9:00 : Welcoming coffee

9:30 : Welcoming remarks
Corinne Mascala, President of the Toulouse 1 Capitole University
& Matthieu Poumarède, Director of the Institut juridique de l’urbanisme, de la construction et de l’environnement (IEJUC)

10:00 : Introduction : Does the legal protection of nature needs the “rights of nature’’
Julien Bétaille, Associate Professor of Law, Toulouse

Legal rights of nature from the perspective of ecology
Guillaume Chapron, Associate Professor of Ecology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

 

First session - Rights of Nature’s origins and theory

Chairperson : Julien Bétaille, Associate Professor of Law, Toulouse 1 Capitole University

 

11:00 : Christopher Stone’s influence on European legal scholars
Delphine Misonne, Professor of Law at the Saint-Louis University (Brussels)

11:30 : The Environmental Law critic through Ecocentric ethics
Olivier Clerc, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Artois (France)

12:00 : Navigating the Rights of Nature Turn : Legal, Moral, and Political Issues
Pierre Brunet, Professor of Law at the University of Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne

12:30 : Debate with the audience

 

13:00 : Lunch break

 

Second session - Rights of Nature around the globe and its practical implementation

Chairperson : Delphine Misonne, Professor of Law at the Saint-Louis University (Brussels)

 

14:30 : Rights of Nature and Environmental Constitutionalism in South America
Gonzalo Sozzo, Professor of Law at the National University of the Littoral (Argentina)

15:00 : Rights of Nature in the Pacific region : considerations from the New Caledonian Case
Loïc Peyen, Associate Professor at the Toulouse 1 Capitole University

15:30 : Access to Environmental Justice in the European Union : do we need Rights of Nature ?
Jan Darpo, Professor of law at the Uppsala University

16:00 : Debate with the audience

16h30 : Enf of the firth day

 

Tuesday, October 15

 

9:00 : Welcoming coffee

 

Third session - Rights of Nature's promises

Chairperson : Guillaume Chapron, Associate Professor of Ecology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

 

9:30 : Rights of Nature vs the Right to Environment across the world
John Knox, Professor of International Law at the Wake Forest University (USA), Former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment

10:00 : Does Environmental Liability needs the Rights of Nature ?
Matthieu Poumarède, Professor of Law at the Toulouse 1 Capitole University

10:30 : Strategic litigation and Rights of Nature
Yaffa Epstein, Phd, Uppsala University (Sweden) (videoconference)

11:00 : How to align nature's rights in the context of EU law ?
Hendrik Schoukens, Post-doctoral Assistant, Ghent University

11:30 : Debate with the audience

 

12:00 : Lunch break

 

Fourth session - Beyond the Rights of Nature, towards new approaches

Chairperson : Michel Prieur, Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Limoges, Chair of the International Center for Comparative Environmental Law (CIDCE)

 

14:00 : Without Rights Yet With Dignity : The Earthland Case
Alexandre Zabalza, Associate Professor at the University of Bordeaux (France)

14:30 : How to protect trees without granting Rights ?
Marie Eude, Phd candidate at the Toulouse 1 Capitole University

15:00 : Granting wildlife the right to own the land they live on
Karen Bradshaw, Professor of Law at Arizona State University (USA)

15:30 : How far is the European Court of Human Rights from the Rights of Nature ?
Joël Andriantsimbazovina, Professor of Law at the Toulouse 1 Capitole University

16:00 : Rights are too serious to be left to lawyers
Guillaume Chapron, Associate Professor of Ecology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

16:30 : Debate with the audience

17:00 : Concluding remarks
Julien Bétaille, Associate Professor of Law, Toulouse 1 Capitole University

 

 

Further information about the conference : Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser.

Registration : Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser.
Academics : 150 euros - UT1 staff : free – Professionnals : 200 euros – Auditors : 150 euros – Students : free - Members of the Société française pour le droit de l’environnement : 50 euros


Manufacture des Tabacs
Auditorium MS001
21 allée de Brienne
31000 Toulouse

Document