21 October, 2008
Statements of scientists – experts serve well as the proof of environmental infringement. However, such statements cannot prove what has happened but just whether what has happened or could happen is possible. Such cognition was pointed out by the Senator Janis Neimanis of the Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate after he returned from the colloquium of the administrative judges in the environmental law of the European countries in Paris.
The meeting of the administrative judges of the European countries on the application of the environmental law of the European Community covered the issues regarding the accessibility to the courts within the context of the Orhuss Convention, implementation of directives on the environmental responsibility, the control of the courts and the issues of proof in the cases of infringement of the standards of the environmental law, and the necessity of training for judges.
Beside the general information regarding the functioning of the administrative law in various European countries in the environmental cases, the problems of proof were also discussed. Jan Eklund from Vaasa Administrative Court (Finland) noted that to prove environmental infringement, experts’ statements may be used, however, the main problem is to understand what is indicated in the statement as there is a difference between the scientific and legal languages.
The Senator J. Neimanis points out that the environmental issues apply not only to the activities of the administrative courts, but also to civil and criminal courts as environment is a very broad notion which covers disposal of a tree broken in the wind, as well as letting sewage into waters, and influence of the electromagnetic waves of cellular phones on an individual. In the field of environment the public interests collide with the environmental values.
Therefore the information gained in the international seminar, especially regarding the issues of proving infringement caused to the environment can be well used not only in the cases dealing with environmental issues of the Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate, but the review of the issues of proof may be useful also in civil and criminal cases.
Information prepared by
Head of the Division of Communications of the Supreme Court Rasma Zvejniece
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