Louise Reilly BL presented a draft model Irish environmental code. She stated that a code was not only a moral imperative but also desirable and possible.
Ms Justice Marie Baker, the Supreme Court’s moderator, stated that she was deeply rooted in common law and a little skeptical about the value of a Code.
She saw some value in a code that dealt with the standing problems that arise in climate-change cases in Ireland.
Of course, embedded as I am in the common law, I am also well used to operating in areas of EU law, which is effectively codified, and has been codified in Ireland, she added.
The court would be a more informal venue for environmentalists to bring cases relating to air and water pollution, habitat destruction, and wildlife-crime.
Clona Kimber, chair of CBA, stated: In Ireland, climate and environmental awareness is increasing. Our research shows that the greatest obstacle to effective, comprehensive, and effective environmental law is how legislators define and frame this area of law.
This symposium has the goal of creating a dialogue towards a model law for environmental enforcement and a new approach to enforcing it. Crucial to this is that the public and legislators have easy access, and an understanding of environmental law, and how it can be used to effectively progress the climate-change-prevention agenda.
We will share a model environmental code. This will unify and simplify environmental legislation. She urged Government to consider her findings.
Deirdre Fhloinn stated that cultural factors, such as reluctances or refusals to confront neighbours and a lack knowledge of the law, make it difficult to enforce environmental laws.
Louise Reilly stated, “Ecocide” or mass environmental damage has been listed as an international crime by activists, and placed within the Rome Statutes of the International Criminal Court.
Reilly stated that the rights of nature shouldn’t be a radical idea and that ecocide should be a domestic offense.
We do not yet have a culture of actively reporting, acting on, and imposing sanctions in relation to that harm, said Ms N Fhloinn.