Five years existence of the European Environmental Law Network

In 2000 the European Environmental Law network existed for five years. In 2015, the EEL website commemorates its twenty years of existence. With the help of T.M.C. Asser Instituut and others, the EEL Network looks forward to continue the valorisation of research into the manner in which the European Union works on sustainable development inside the EU and elsewhere in the world.

The European Environmental Law website was founded in 1995 as part of an EU funded project that experimented with long-distance learning techniques. It was the first website to provide free of charge online access to environment related case-law and legislation, much of which was at that time not accessible on-line or only through paid services. In addition, the EEL website featured online materials for  environmental law courses at several universities throughout Europe, and other information useful for those interested in European environmental law. It was founded by Jürgen Lefevere at the METRO institute at Maastricht University (who later joined the European Commission’s Climate Action Directorate General) and Wybe Douma from the University of Groningen. Initially hosted by Maastricht University, the latter researcher’s move to the T.M.C. Asser Instituut in 1998 brought about this institute’s involvement in the website, hosting, numerous innovations, manpower to maintain the site and granting research time.

By now, the website features a wealth of information on EU environmental law and international environmental law, plus some information on the manner in which countries implement these norms in their national legal order. Several scholars contributed dossiers on current topics, on developments in their country and other issues, creating a network that lead to several conferences and publications. A case law database contains all important environmental cases decided by the CJEU with annotations. An accompanying EEL News Service is mailed to numerous subscribers, updating them on the latest case law, legislation and other important developments. For the very latest news, a twitter account was created (@EurEnvlLaw) in 2010. In 2014, the first International and European Environmental Law Summer Programme was convened at the Asser Institute and in collaboration with the Institute for Environmental Security a lecture series started under the heading Hague Environmental Law Facility (HELF).

Over the years, countless research assistants have contributed by gathering and compiling valuable new information for the website and news service. Several editors-in-chief have been and still are of great help, notably Leonardo Massai and Jens Hamer.