Reference : The precautionary principle under European Union Law
Scientific journals : Article
Law, criminology & political science : European & international law
Law / European Law; Sustainable Development
The precautionary principle under European Union Law
Donati, Alessandra mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance (FDEF) > Department of Law (DL) >]
Hitotsubashi Journal of Law and Politics
[en] EU law ; precautionary principle
[en] By acknowledging the flexible and complex nature of the precautionary principle in EU
law, the purpose of this paper is to provide a polycentric interpretation of this principle based
on diversity rather than uniformity. To achieve this objective, a methodology derived from the
methodological pluralism is employed. This allows for the unitas multiplex between the
different definitions and applications of the precautionary principle to be researched. The core
claim of this paper is that the polycentric interpretation of the precautionary principle can be
built on two concepts: anticipation and action. In the first part of this paper, I argue that
anticipation implies the qualification by law and the evaluation by the science of uncertain
risks. In the second part, I consider that, after having anticipated the time of action, decision-makers should act based on the precautionary principle. However, the action undertaken has
different meanings and consequences from the procedural and substantive perspective. From the
procedural side, the decision-makers should take into account this principle, while they remain
free, on the substantive side, to adopt a precautionary measure.

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