Para citar este artículo puede utilizarse el siguiente formato:
George Penchev (2015): «Theoretical grounds of Enviromental law», en Revista europea de historia de las ideas políticas y de las instituciones públicas, n. 9 (octubre 2015). Puede leerse este artículo en línea en: http://www.eumed.net/rev/rehipip/09/environmental-law.html
Abstract: This article is dedicated to the theoretical grounds of the environmental law. For this purpose the legal problems related to the environmental law as a branch of the legal system, as a science, as a school subject and as a system are evaluated. The author formulates his own definition of the term “environmental law” and substantiates its complex and at the same time independent character. In the conclusion are formulated some more general deductions from the evaluated legal problems.
Key words: Environmental Law, Theoretical Grounds, Branch of the Legal System.
Résumé : L’article est dédié aux fondements théoriques du droit de l’environnement. A cet effet sont analysés les problèmes juridiques liés au droit de l’environnement comme une branche du système juridique et de la science. L’auteur donne sa propre définition de la notion “droit de l’environnement” et répresente des arguments de son caractère complexe et ainsi indépendant. Somme toute quelques conclusions plus générales sont faites. Elles sont consacrées aux problèmes juridiques analysés.
Mots clés : Droit de l’environnement, Fondements théoriques, branche du système juridique.
The problem of interaction between society and nature is one of the most important problems of our nowadays. Its actuality is determined by the growing degradation of the environment on a world-wide scale in spite of the efforts on a national and international level1. This fact shows the significant and increasing role of the environmental law as a special branch of law which regulates, in general, relations in system “society ‒ nature”. Because of the various views in the legal literature of the separate countries on the content of the environmental law, there is a necessity for clarification of its essence. The theoretical grounds of the environmental law are related to its four components, as follows: a) as a branch of the legal system on a national or international level; b) as a science; c) as a school subject; d) as a system.
2. Environmental Law as a Branch of the Legal System
In both Bulgarian and Russian legal literature on theory of law predominates the standpoint that for the formation of one branch of law as a separate in the legal system there must be available two basic criteria: a) subject of legal regulation, and b) method of legal regulation7. That is why the essence of the environmental law as a branch of the legal system could be clarified in the light of these criteria.
2.1. Subject of Legal Regulation of the Environmental Law
According to the Bulgarian as well as the Russian theory of law, the subject of legal regulation consists in the specific, detached circle of public relations between the subjects of the law on the occasion of some material or non-material goods8. According to the Bulgarian theory of law, the basic subjects of law are natural persons, legal persons, state authorities and international organizations, but local authorities are in the scope of the term legal persons9. It is important to be emphasized that subject of legal regulation of the environmental law are not relations between man and nature, because the environmental law regulates relations between people (i.e. in the society) on the occasion of the environment or its components10. In the light of their content, there are two groups of public relations which are subject of legal regulation of the environmental law, as follows:
First group of these relations is connected with the quality of the environment, and the second group – with the necessary quantity of natural resources for the separate kinds of use of natural resources. Environment as a whole or its components actually is the object of these public relations, regulated by environmental legal regulations11. The abovementioned public relations originate objectively in process of interaction between man and nature during the development of human civilization. From one hand, the nature is living environment for man, and for the other hand, it is source of raw material for giving satisfaction to his needs12. That is why, the environmental law has its own and specific subject of legal regulation.
2.2. Method of Legal Regulation of the Environmental Law
From the point of view of the Bulgarian theory of law, method of legal regulation consists in the ways of influence to the behavior of the subjects of law, i.e. ways for regulation of the separate public relations13. The environmental law uses both two main methods of legal regulation: a) imperative, and b) dispositive, i.e. related to the equality of the subjects of law. In fact, environmental law has not its own method of legal regulation. It uses both methods depending on the concrete case. This fact raises a debatable question in the legal literature of the separate countries on the essence of environmental law as a branch of legal system in the light of its independence as such branch of law. Here-in-after in brief will be shown some attitudes of some authors from separate countries on this problem.
In my opinion, it could be formulated following definition of the term ‘environmental law’: the environmental law is a complex of legal rules regulating the public relations on the protection of the components of the environment from pollution and on the rational use of natural resources for the satisfaction of various needs of the society. It is a complex branch of law, but having some abovementioned own special features, it can be determined also as an independent branch of the legal system.
3. Environmental Law as a science
The environmental law as a science is a branch of the legal science whose subject consist in the analysis of the environmental legal ties and environmental legal regulations. In fact this branch of legal sciences is a system of knowledge, ideas and views on the environmental legislation in its statics and dynamics. The main methods in use of environmental law science are monitoring, analysis, synthesis, as well as comparative law and historic law methods. Use of these methods helps in clarifying the content of investigated environmental legal ties and environmental legal regulations. In fact the use of these methods is the main task of the environmental law science.
4. Environmental Law as a school subject
The environmental law as a school subject in the faculties of law at the universities has the same subject like the abovementioned of the environmental law as a branch of legal science. But the difference is related to their main task. The main task of the environmental law as a school subject consists in giving to students of scientific and practical knowledge on environmental law on a national and international level. Another task of this specific school subject is related to the creation of ways and skills of students in analyzing and interpretation of national regulations, European Union’s acts and international treaties as well practice of their implementation.
5. Environmental law as a system
The specific system of environmental law as a branch of the legal system as a whole of the Republic of Bulgaria is related to the differentiation (grouping) of the legal regulations under specific criteria. If we use as a specific criterion the direction of the legal regulations (i.e. their relation to the environment as a whole or to some of its components, such as air, water, soil, etc.) they can be differentiated in a two main parts - general and special.
Finally, it could be formulated some general conclusions after this brief analysis of the above-mentioned legal problems.
Recibido el 26 de agosto de 2015. Aceptado el 19 de septiembre de 2015.
* Lecturer in Environmental Law, Faculty of Law, University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
1 See for example: Saving Our Planet: Challenges and Hopes, “UNEP”, Nairobi, 1992, p. 175; G. Penchev, Old Testament, Contemporary Environmental Problems and Bulgarian Environmental Law, in: Revista Crítica de Historia de las Relaciones Laborales y de la Política Social, Malaga, No. 9, (Noviembre-2014), pp. 5–6.
2 See for example: D. Hughes, Environmental Law (Second Edition), “Butterworths”, London, 1992, p. 13; D. Shelton, A. Kiss, Judicial Handbook on Environmental Law, “UNEP”, Nairobi, 2005, pp. 4–5.
3 See https://holybible.com/gen.1.28.
4 See G. Penchev, Op. cit., p. 3.
5 See Д. Киров, Богословие на обществения живот (Очерци по християнска социология), „Манта принт”, София, 2003, p. 22.
6 See Просветено съзнание: Лекции на общия окултен клас на учениците от Всемирното бяло братство. Г. X (1930–1931), Т. 2, София, 1940, p. 50. For more details, see www.beinsadouno.org; www.beinsa-douno.com.
7 See for example in the Bulgarian legal literature: Основи направото, Част първа, „Тилиа“, София, 1995, p. 14, and in the Russian legal literature: С. Алексеев, Общая теория права, Т. 1, „Юридическая литература“, Москва, 1981, pp. 244–247.
8 See Основи на правото на Република България, Част първа, p. 14; С. Алексеев, Op. cit., pp. 292–294.
9 See Р. Ташев, Обща теория на правото (4. прераб. и доп. изд.), „Сиби“, София, 2010, pp. 361–426; Основи на правото на Република България, Част първа, p. 18.
10 See also in this direction in the Russian legal literature: М. Бринчук, Экологическое право, „Городец“, Москва, 2009, p. 34, where this author shares the same view.
11 According to § 1, p. 1 of Supplementary provisions of the Bulgarian Environmental Protection act (State Gazette of the Republic of Bulgaria, No. 91 of 2002, as amended), "Environment" shall be a complex of natural and anthropogenic factors and media in a state of mutual dependence, which affect the ecological balance and the quality of life, human health, and cultural and historical heritage”.
12 See Г. Пенчев, Екологично право, Обща част, „Фенея“, София, 2011, p. 24.
13 See Основи на правото на Република България, Част първа, p. 15, and for the same view in Russian legal literature, see С. Алексеев, Op. cit., p. 294.
14 See D. Hughes, Op. cit., p. 13.
15 Ibidem, p. 3.
16 See Н. Робинсон. Правовое регулирование природопользования и охраны окружающей среды в США, „Прогресс“, Москва, 1990, p. 6. This is translation in Russian of the book of N. Robinson, Environmental Regulation of Real Property, “Law Journals Seminars-Press”, New York, 1982.
17 See D. Shelton, A. Kiss, Op. cit., p. 4.
18 See Л. Кремер, Европейско право на околната среда, „Сиела“, София, 2008, p. 63.
19 See for example: in Russian legal literature, М. Бринчук, Op. cit., p. 47; in Ukrainian legal literature, С. Кравченко, Социально-психологические аспекты правовой охраны окружающей среды, „Вища школа“, Львов, 1988, p. 9; in Moldovan legal literature, В. Яковлев, Экологическое право, „Штиинца“, Кишинев, 1988, p. 25.
20 See М. Бринчук, Op. cit., p. 35.
21 See Г. Пенчев, Екологично право, Обща част, p. 26; С. Наумова, Основни въпроси на екологичното право (2. прераб. и доп. изд.), „Българска академия на науките – Институт за държавата и правото“, София, 2012, p. 48; П. Стайнов, Защита на природата (правни изследвания), „Издателство на Българската академия на науките“, София, 1970, p. 16, where this author use the term “nature protection”.
22 See Правовая охрана окружающей природной среды в странах Восточной Европы, „Высшая школа”, Москва, 1990, p. 35.
23 See State Gazette of the Republic of Bulgaria, No. 55 of 1991, as amended.
24 This is so-called “ecological function of the state”. See for example, К. Раянова, Устойчивото развитие и екологичната функция на държавата (Дисертация), Русенски университет „Ангел Кънчев“, Русе, 2012, 203 p.
25 For more details on the principles of the environmental law, see: Г. Пенчев, Екологично право, Обща част, pp. 36–37; С. Наумова, Op. cit., pp. 30–37; П. Стайнов, Op. cit., p. 24; Л. Кремер, Op. cit., pp. 77–96; Л. Кремер, Г. Винтер, Экологическое право Европейского союза, „Городец“, Москва, 2007, pp. 28–31; М. Бринчук, Op. cit., pp. 49–53; M. Бринчук, Принципы экологического права, „Юрлитинформ“, Москва, 2013, pp. 24–106; D. Hughes, Op. cit., pp. 17–23; D. Shelton, A. Kiss, Op. cit., pp. 19 – 25.
26 For more details, see for example: Г. Пенчев, Екологично право, Обща част, p. 29; С. Наумова, Op. cit., p. 53; М. Бринчук, Экологическое право, pp. 46–49.
27 See: П. Пенчев, Обща хидрология, „Наука и изкуство”, София, 1986, pp. 383–384; М. Львович, Географические основы водного законодательства, in: Известия Всесоюзного географического общества, Москва, 1967, Т. 99, №. 3, p. 182.
28 For moral aspects of the increasing meaning of environmental law in modern society, see in Russian legal literature, О. Колбасов, Завещание экологам, in: Журнал российского права, Москва, 2000, №. 5-6, pp. 89–90.
29 For example the upbringing of a feeling of love to nature in the light of its beauty can be formed at the earlier stage of the education in geography in the schools. See: П. Пенчева, Л. Чакърова, Активизиране на учениците в урок по география в IV клас на тема „Нашето черноморско крайбрежие“, in: Начално образование, София, 1972, №. 1, pp. 50–51; П. Пенчева, Географската карта – източник на знания при обучението по география в IV клас, in: Начално образование, София, 1973, №. 8, pp. 47–49.
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