ERC Inaugural Lecture - Curiae Virides

Tuesday 17 May 2022, 17:00 to 19:00

Transforming ecological conflicts into lawsuits. Do activist movements and courts fill ecological governance gaps and generate a waterfall effect on victims?

Today, ecological degradation is increasingly linked to the subsistence of human beings. Many stakeholders flag ecological governance gaps and increasingly trigger courts to require governments and leading firms of global value chains to adopt the necessary measures to prevent or mitigate ecological risks or harms. However, the role victims of ecological damage play in these proceedings is unclear. The Curiae Virides project explores the progressive ‘greening’ of social litigation and the role of courts that render decisions based on human rights claims related to ecological degradation.  

The project conceptualises the progressive greening of transnational environmental litigation and the emerging but important role of (activist) courts in addressing ecological governance gaps. The aim is to shed light on how this greening of social litigation challenges the legal concept of attribution of liability in transnational lawsuits and influences access to an effective remedy for victims of transnational ecological harms. The main hypothesis is that lawsuits in this context mostly seek to nudge the choice architects of ecological governance, i.e. policymakers and global value chain coordinating firms, to implement effective actions for the sustainability of ecosystems while not necessarily seeking concrete remedies for victims.  

Curiae Virides is developing a database on ecological conflicts that transform into lawsuits. The combination of systematic empirical analysis of the global data will lead to a high gain project that sheds light on the transformation of social claims, on the synergies among social and judicial activism and soft law production and implementation, on the institutional quality of courts to understand global ecological and economic conflicts, on the patterns of innovative case law and litigation, on whether triggering courts contributes to filling ecological governance gaps, and on whether this has (or not) a waterfall effect on access to remedy for victims of ecological harm.

This event will take place in a physical format at the U-residence on the VUB campus, but registration is mandatory. Please click here to register.