Environmental Rights in a Welfare State? A Comment on DeMerieux

Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 23 (1):111-125 (2003)
Abstract
The derivation of a category of ‘environmental rights’ (as argued in this journal by Margaret DeMerieux) from certain cases heard in the European Court of Human Rights is examined. Opposing the majority judicial opinion of that court, there is emerging a dissenting view which is reluctant to extend a rights perspective to those nuisances which can, in theory, be avoided by relocation of the family home. This critique is then extended to Marcic v Thames Water Utilities in which the claimant used the Human Rights Act 1998 (as well as common law) to secure damages for an environmental threat (flooding) to his home. It is further argued that any ‘rights’ dimension currently attached to environmental intrusion on private life will give way to policy imperatives once the effects of climate change come to be recognized
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