Legal action against GMO
Dr. Christoph Palme
The Institute for nature protection and nature
protection law Tübingen, Germany
Herrmannsdorf, 14.10.2006
General remarks
What for measures can be targeted in the courts?
Who has legal standing?
Necessity of early action and advise
Basic terms and concepts
Biased scientists as real judges
No precedences/new statutes/fishy rules
controversial legal issues
detailed examination of each single case indispensable
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
Right to be free from hunger
(Art. 11 para 2 international covenant on social
rights)
The States Parties to the present Covenant, recognizing the
fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger,
shall take, individually and through international cooperation, the measures, including specific programmes,
which are needed:
(a) To improve methods of production, conservation and
distribution of food by making full use of technical and
scientific knowledge, by disseminating knowledge of the
principles of nutrition and by developing or reforming
agrarian systems in such a way as to achieve the most
efficient development and utilization of natural resources;
(b) Taking into account the problems of both food-importing
and food-exporting countries, to ensure an equitable
distribution of world food supplies in relation to need.
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
Right to be free from hunger
(Art. 11 para 2 international covenant on social
rights)
Combatting hunger as main issue
significance in international law:
primarily in politics, only indirecty in legal terms
significance in the respective state: depends on its
constitution and the whether hunger is an issue
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
WTO law
•
Current state of the panel proceedings
•
fairy tales and the truths of the panel decision
•
•
double standard of the EU-commission regarding
risk assessments?
•
pivotal statements of the panel report
•
the role of the protocol of cartagena
amicus brief?
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
Penal law/offenses regarding German GE Law
Which persons can be involved?
Unauthorises experimental release: 3 years/fine
Unauthorised placing on the market:
-
1 year/fine, if negligent
3 years/fine, if intentional
3 years also if putting in peril objectsof legal protection by
negligence
-
International aspects (Bayer LL601)
-
ample offenses in German GE law
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
EU-law/proceedings instituted by states
• potential subject matters
• admissibility
• legal grounds
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
EU-law/proceedings instituted by citizens
potential subject matters
admissibility
preliminary ruling
legal grounds
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
Review of the German GE law
German Constitution
EU-law
International covenants
Existing law probably in line
§ 34 a BNatSchG?
§ 28 a GenTG?
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
Infringement of the Seehofer draft
legalisation of contaminations stemming from
experimental releases
state funded compensation scheme
Protection of ecologically sensitive areas
0,9 threshold does not secure use of property
of GMO-free production
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
Infringement of the Seehofer draft
Organic farmers not sufficienty protected
good professional practice not sufficient
Necessity of two gpp-regimes? (one for
conventional/one for organic farming?)
"Specifying" of joint and several liability
limits in permitting derogations by private parties
(Märka Modell)
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
litigation against experimental
releases
- concept of experimental release
delimitation of experiments with GMproducts
- Who may litigate?
- legal grounds: - environment/health issues
- co-existence
- nature protection
- simplified procedures
- preclusive effects?
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
Litigation of environmental NGOs
against GMO in general
currently no general litigation possibilities
be it experimental or commercial releases
Aarhus-Convention does NOT cover GMOs
---> the only rewarding approach is using
protected areas as legal vehicle
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
Litigation of NGOs against GMO at
areas protected by national law
Statutary protection status miserable
though by invoking higher ranking european law
and the german constitution, the following
seems possible:
dispensation procedure at areas protected
by national law grants right of action
GMOs near areas protected by national
law
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
Litigation of NGOs against GMO at
areas protected by european law
If area is designated, right of action
within the dispensation procedures
even if not in but near of the area
If area so far is only listed, some german
state laws prescribe impact assessment
usually no right of action in those cases
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
Litigation of NGOs against GMO at
areas protected by european law
Notified areas may grant right of action in
case of impact assessment by state law
No right of action if involved:
- the balance of notified areas
- potential EU-protection areas
- actual bird protection areas
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
civil law claims
neighbourhood claims
farmes/hobby-farmes/bantam campaign
significant adverse effects
claims against other perpetrators
transport/stocking/authorities:
relation to plot of land and neighbourhood law?
claims against suppliers
what if GMO-free is not warranted?
interface farmer/consumer below 0,9 %
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
Neighourhood actions against
experimental releases
administrative act shaping private law?
- litigation on termination
- litigation on protection measures
- litigation on liability
is there a co-existence caveat?
defense/liability actions cover:
- contamination more than 0,1 %
- infringements of property/health
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
Neigbourhood actions
against cultivation
switching point:
good professional practice constitutional?
actionable thresholds
- without consent: limit of detection
- contamination > 0,9
- contamination < 0,9
preliminary ruling?
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
joint and several liability
- alternative and/or cumulative
causation
- what potential to damages necessary?
- precedence of assessment of individual
causation share
- transport and supply also comprised?
- costs of analysing
- level of compensation
- partially own fault of claimant
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
GMO-free regions (GFR)
- voluntarily
- secured by mixture of
sovereign
instruments
- general opportunities
- municipal actions ag. experimental
releases?
- limited prohibition of cultivation?
- biosphere reserves etc.
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
GMO-free regions (GFR)
- closed cultivation areas
- labelling "without GMO"
- GFR under the open concept of
significant adverse effect
- role of constitutional law
- demands for EU-framework may backfire
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
hazardous incidents (LL601
rice/Bayer)
liability action against Bayer in the US?
liability action against Bayer in Germany?
- court of jurisdiction
- choice of law governing the case
- establishment of fault/assignment of
responsibility
- scope of damage
- effects of subsequent authorisation
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
hazardous incidents (LL601
rice/Bayer)
state liability actions against german
authorities
state liability actions against EUCommission
opting up in hazardous incidents
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
seed thresholds
politically negotiationed < 0, 5 %
Which threshold is legally binding?
current litigation possibilities
litigation possibilities in case of adoption
of new thresholds
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
misleading advertising of food
companies
freedom of Information actions
actions according to the EUenvironmental liability
directive
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen
DISCLAIMER
This presentation of a general
overview under no
whatsoever circumstance
can replace the legal advise
and counselling necessary
for consideration of the
respective case!
Dr. Christoph Palme
Institut für Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tübingen

Legal action against GMO Dr. Christoph Palme The