Extended producer responsibility, former students and Israeli law – The Supreme Court in Eitanit construction products

Eitanit construction products (formerly known as Isasbest) failed in its judicial review of an Israeli Act which holds producers of hazardous materials (partially) liable for the remediation costs following pollution by said materials. The Israeli High Court rejected the asbestos manufacturer’s arguments, which were mainly based, I understand, on the protection of property rights. It upheld instead the application of the polluter pays principle. It also referred to a cradle to grave /well to wheel approach which is evident in for instance the European Union’s extended producer responsibility scheme.

In doing so, it referred to Aaron Ezroj’s 2009 article Extended Producer Responsibility Programs in the European Union, 20 Colo. J. J. Int’l L. & Pol’y 199. Aaron is a former student of mine, the article is based on his master paper here at Leuven.

I have yet to see an English version of the judgment. I have a Hebrew version on file for those versed in the language. English language reporting is available from Jonathan Zasloff and on JSpace. Discussion also included the principle of equality (non-discrimination) and retroactivity of Statute.


Risk Communication, Earthquakes and liability

I am not privy to the complete file. Neither do I read Italian to a decent standard, however I have  abbled in risk analysis issues before. The recent decision establishing criminal liability against (inter alia) a number of scientists in the L’Aquila 2009 Earthquake trial, must go down as one of the most mispresented court decisions.

This case is not about a court holding scientists to account for failing accurately to have predicted something unpredictable. Rather, the judgment established liability for the scientists involved  not having met their duty of care in allegedly hastily having put together a risk assessment (under pressure from the local authorities); and most importantly, for their role in the subsequent communication on said risk (again under pressure from the authorities).

Risk communication is often left to the last minute in risk analysis teaching. The L’Aquila trial (likely to be subject to appeal) illustrates its significance. It also shows how easily the world’s media can be wrong footed.

Any reader with access to the full judgment, please do get in touch.


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