From general policy to legal rule

Aspirations and limitations of the precautionary principle

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    40 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The rapid spread of the precautionary principle (PP) demonstrates the need to explicitly address the role of precaution in environmental decision making. Unfortunately, the PP in its current form is limited by the vagueness of, and variations in, the many formulations of the PP. This ambiguity in the meaning of the PP would not be so serious if the PP were limited to a general aspirational policy, but in every jurisdiction that has adopted the PP it has been transformed rapidly into a binding legal rule. As a legal rule, the ambiguity of the PP results in arbitrary application by regulatory agencies and reviewing courts and limits the capability of reviewing courts to perform their function in overseeing agency actions. To improve the explicit application of precaution, we must go beyond the current form of the PP and attempt to define the factors that weigh in favor of more or less precaution for specific risks.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1799-1803
    Number of pages5
    JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
    Volume111
    Issue number14
    StatePublished - Nov 2003

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    Keywords

    • Environmental policy
    • Law precautionary principle
    • Risk management

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Environmental Science(all)
    • Environmental Chemistry
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

    Cite this

    From general policy to legal rule : Aspirations and limitations of the precautionary principle. / Marchant, Gary.

    In: Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 111, No. 14, 11.2003, p. 1799-1803.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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