Conference on Environmental Law Enforcement: Emerging Challenges

Date released: November 09, 2020

The Director General of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Laura Burke; and the Chief Justice, the Hon Mr Justice Frank Clarke, will provide the opening addresses at this year’s virtual conference on Environmental Law Enforcement: Emerging Challenges 2020which will take place on Wednesday 11th November. The conference, which is co-hosted by the EPA and the Irish Centre for European Law (ICEL), will explore some of the challenges and potential opportunities that are emerging through experience with environmental enforcement, recent developments in the case law, as well as new policy initiatives.

Commenting on the conference, EPA’s Director General, Laura Burke, said:

"This conference is an important opportunity for practicing legal professionals, leading academics and researchers, policy makers, concerned stakeholders as well as professional regulators to come together to explore emerging challenges in Ireland with regard to enforcement of environmental law. It also has an important role in supporting the development of competency and capacity in environmental law and its enforcement"

The conference will explore experience, challenges and recent case law in relation to the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive; the Environmental Liability Directive and the Habitats Directive; as well as the implications of the recent judgment of the Supreme Court in ‘Climate Case Ireland’ for climate and wider environmental protection. There will also be contributions providing different perspectives and experience in the context of establishing a specialist court for planning and the environment.

Dr Áine Ryall, ICEL and Centre for Law and the Environment UCC said:

"The conference is very timely. The Programme for Government includes a commitment to establish a Planning and Environmental Law Court managed by specialist judges. There is also a commitment to reform the judicial review process. These proposals raise important issues concerning the right of access to justice and merit close attention. Furthermore, the pandemic has created challenges for the exercise of rights guaranteed under the Aarhus Convention, in particular the right to participate in environmental decision-making.

The conference provides a forum for informed debate. It will explore how to use the law to protect the environment and improve environmental quality."

Notes to Editor

The Environmental Law Enforcement: Emerging Challenges 2020 conference will include contributions from:

  • The Hon Mr Justice Frank Clarke, Chief Justice
  • Laura Burke, Director General EPA
  • Margaret Gray SC, QC
  • Alice Whittaker, Partner and Head of the Environment and Climate Group at Philip Lee
  • Prof Owen McIntyre, Centre for Law & the Environment UCC
  • Conor Linehan, Partner and Head of Environmental Law at William Fry
  • Prof Suzanne Kingston SC, UCD Sutherland School of Law
  • Richard Macrory, Barrister and Emeritus Professor of Environmental Law, University College London
  • James Connolly SC, Chairman of the Planning, Environmental & Local Government Bar Associationof the Bar of Ireland(PELGBA)
  • Dr Áine Ryall, Centre for Law & the Environment UCC; and
  • Dr Tom Ryan, EPA.

You can find the full programme and register for this free event online.