State liability for health damage caused by excessive air pollution: Constitutional and Private Law aspects
Air pollution severely damages human health and causes premature deaths. In order to fight against it, the European Commission initiated a revision of the Ambient Air Quality Directives aiming to improve the quality of outdoor air and to reach the Zero Pollution goal. However, the CJEU is already facing requests for a preliminary ruling dealing with state liability for health damage caused by excessive air pollution. The old common law maxim <The King does no wrong= according to which a citizen may not seek redress from the government for wrongs committedmby the latter has long been surpassed. The institution of state liability is thus a widely recognised concept. The paper analyses the main features of state liability for health damage caused by polluted air and its boundaries. It focuses on the recent development of EU law in this regard and the established case law of the ECtHR. Since the right to a healthy living environment is recognised by several constitutions across the world, including Slovenia, the paper deals also with the Slovenian case law on state liability for damages caused by air and noise pollution from road and rail transport.
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