Environmental fear damage from an interdisciplinary perspective
PhD student: Mr S.B.J. Van Eekert
Promotors: Mrs Prof I. Samoy, Prof I. Giesen
Duration: 1/10/2021 - 24/9/2031
Fear damage is a legal concept that allows plaintiffs to claim compensation for harm caused by the fear that future harmful events may occur. The debate on fear damage is fairly new, and the full potential of this concept is yet to be discovered. In fact, few studies have been conducted on its impact in environmental cases. This research will investigate this potential impact, find ways to curb it and by doing so, contribute to the theoretical underpinnings of fear damage in general.
Due to the ongoing instability of our climate and the increasing number of threats to the environment, fear for environmental decay is and will continue to be an important issue. However, the debates on the scope and the limits of compensation for harm caused by the fear for environmental damage remain controversial. Indeed, compensation for all types of fear damage could (1) impose a heavy budgetary load for the defendants (often: The State) (2) potentially overwhelm the courts with a flood of litigation and (3) offer compensation in cases where it is clearly unreasonable. A lack of consensus on how to deal with these concerns and specific procedural issues involved in environmental cases lead to uncertainty for victims and wrongdoers about whether these claims could succeed in court. To bring about certainty
for these victims and wrongdoers, fundamental research is needed. This research project will be
conducted with an emphasis on comparative law and from an interdisciplinary perspective.