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by Archaeology Newsroom

Law and the environment

With the exception of the State Council’s jurisprudence, which has repeatedly in recent years faced the issue of environment protection with special sensitivity, Greek justice, in general, has not had the chance to deal sufficiently with the pollution of the environment and its relevant problems. Both in the public and private law of our country there exist a number of appropriate provisions as opposed to the law of foreign countries with environmental problems. There, quite often, it is asked of the legislalor and of the law to enact a legislation in support of an already established juridical practice. However, the absence of a wide jurisprudence in Greece is not so much due to the scarsity of environmental cases as to the inertia of the citizens that can be explained either by ignorance of the law or by indifference or even by financial shortcomings in the face of involvement in a lawsuit.

Provisions for the protection of the environment have been included in the legislation of public and private law. Article 24 of the Constitution establishes the rights of the environment as an individual, social and political right. This means that every administrative act can be brought before the State Council, so that its agreeability or not with the content of the article 24 may be judged. Needless to say that this procedure is activated only if an individual or legal entity, which has a legitimate interest, asks for the invalidation of such a harmful to the enviroment administrative act. To facilitate the protection of the environment the State Council has broadened the content of the legal interest, since it is more than a necessary prerogative for an appeal. In Civil Law the environment is protected:

1. By the provisions referring to public goods (air, sea, running waters, sea-shore, forests, squares, streets, groves, etc.), which are the most important environmental goods, in combination with those referring to the protection of personality. Both Civil Law and jurisprudence fully accept that the individual has the right to use and enjoy these goods. This right can be legally protected through the suits for present suspension and future recovery of any act harmful to the goods and for compensation due to moral hazard.

2. By the provisions referring to the protection of ownership and posession in combination with those of the Neighbourhood Law.

3. By the article 29 of L. 1650/1986 on the protection of the environment. This article establishes civil responsibility for the recovery of ecological damage regardless of the liability of the person causing the damage (real objective liability); or through the article 914 of Civil Law on tori liability (recovery of ecological damage and moral hazard, CL 932).