International, European Union (EU) and national environmental law continues to evolve at a rapid pace making it difficult to keep up with new developments and to appreciate their significance in practice. The interactions between the Aarhus Convention,
EU law and Irish environmental law are proving to be particularly convoluted and unpredictable. This is especially true in the context of enforcement matters. The Aarhus Convention is featuring more frequently in litigation before both the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and the Irish courts. The CJEU continues to adopt a robust approach to access to the courts to enforce environmental law as evidenced by its ruling in Edwards (Case C-260/11) and the Opinion of Advocate General Kokott in Commission v United Kingdom (Case C-530/11).
At the domestic level, the special costs rules that apply to certain categories of environmental litigation in Ireland remain controversial and are taking considerable time to bed down. There is now a substantial body of jurisprudence from the High Court interpreting the special costs rules, yet considerable uncertainty persists as to their scope and practical application. Nevertheless, there have been some interesting developments in terms of access to justice to enforce planning and environmental law. The ruling in Hunter v Nurendale Ltd  IEHC 430 on costs protection is a ground-breaking development in this context.
This conference is intended to build on the series of environmental enforcement conferences hosted by UCC Faculty of Law in recent years. It aims to identify contemporary issues in the enforcement of EU environmental law, to consider innovative solutions to the ongoing enforcement challenge and to foster discussion among participants. At a more general level, it seeks to provide accurate, up to date information for participants on issues relating to enforcement, including the impact of the Aarhus Convention in practice.
This conference is supported by funding from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and from the Department of An Taoiseach Communicating Europe Initiative.
2.00-2.15 Opening Remarks
Áine Ryall, Faculty of Law, UCC
Session 1 Chair: Judge Anthony M Collins General Court of the European Union
2.15-2.45 Margaret Gray BL ‘Enforcing EU Environmental Law: Developments in the Jurisprudence of the CJEU’
2.45-3.15 Tom Flynn BL ‘Enforcing EU Environmental Law: Developments at the Domestic Level’
3.15-3.45 Q & A
Session 2 Chair: David Holland SC
4.15-4.45 Liam Cashman, Environment Directorate-General, European Commission ‘New Commission initiative on environmental inspections – what it might mean for future enforcement’
4.45-5.15 Andrew Jackson, Natural Environment Officer and in-house solicitor An Taisce ‘Democratising Enforcement: Thinking Beyond the State’
5.15-6.00 Q & A and General Discussion