Environmental Solicitors Belfast


Environmental law is an area of law that encompasses a wide range of legal issues related to the protection and preservation of the environment. It deals with the regulation and management of natural resources, pollution control, conservation, and the promotion of sustainable development.

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Environmental law cases can be complex and often involve multiple parties, extensive scientific evidence, and a range of legal issues. They may result in various remedies, including monetary damages, injunctive relief, and the enforcement of environmental regulations.

Here are some common types of environmental law claims:

  • Pollution Claims: These claims involve allegations of pollution, such as air or water pollution, soil contamination, or hazardous waste disposal. Plaintiffs may seek remedies for damages caused by the pollution, including health problems, property damage, or loss of natural resources.

  • Endangered Species Act Claims: These claims involve disputes over the protection and conservation of endangered or threatened species. They often challenge government actions that may harm these species or their habitats.

  • Clean Water Act Claims: Such claims relate to violations of water quality standards, wastewater discharge permits, or regulations related to the discharge of pollutants into bodies of water.

  • Clean Air Act Claims: These claims address violations of regulations designed to protect air quality, including emissions from industrial facilities, vehicles, and other sources.

  • Natural Resource Damage Claims: Natural resource damage claims are brought to seek compensation for harm to natural resources, such as damage to ecosystems, fisheries, and wildlife, caused by pollution or other environmental violations.

  • Environmental Regulatory Compliance Claims: These claims can be brought by environmental groups or concerned citizens to enforce compliance with environmental laws and regulations. They seek to ensure that individuals, companies, or government agencies adhere to environmental standards.

  • Private Nuisance Claims: Private nuisance claims involve allegations of environmental harm to individuals or their properties caused by the activities of others, such as odours, noise, or other disturbances related to environmental factors.

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How do I make an environmental claim?

Here are the general steps to make an environmental claim:

  1. Identify the Issue: Determine the specific environmental issue or violation that you want to address. This could be pollution, habitat destruction, illegal development, or any other environmental harm.

  2. Consult a solicitor: Environmental law can be highly specialized, and it's essential to consult a solicitor who specializes in environmental law. At P.A. Duffy and Co, we can provide guidance on the best remedies available to you.

  1. Gather Evidence: Collect all relevant evidence to support your claim. This may include photographs, documents, scientific studies, witness statements, and any other proof of the environmental harm or violation.

  2. Determine the Legal Basis: Your solicitor will assist you in identifying the specific environmental laws and regulations that have been violated and how they apply to your case.

  1. Notify the Responsible Parties: Once the relevant defendant(s) are identified it is necessary to write to them setting out the issues and warning that court proceedings will be issued unless the relevant issues are remedied. This notice informs them of your intent to take legal action and may provide an opportunity for settlement or corrective action.

  1. Issue Court proceedings: If the issue is not resolved through negotiation or if you are not satisfied with the response, your solicitor will issue proceedings in in the appropriate court. The specific procedures may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the nature of the claim.

  1. Litigation Process: The litigation process can be lengthy and may include various stages, such as pleadings, discovery and trial. Your solicitor will guide you through these stages, representing your interests and presenting your case. It is of course possible to reach out of court settlements at any time during this process.

  2. Remedies and Relief: The court may order various remedies if your environmental claim is successful. These remedies can include monetary damages, injunctive relief (an order to stop the harmful activity), or other corrective actions to mitigate the environmental harm.

  3. Public Awareness and Advocacy: In some cases, environmental claims may also involve public awareness and advocacy efforts to bring attention to the issue and gain support for your cause. Engaging with environmental organizations and the media can help raise awareness.

  4. Monitor Compliance: After obtaining a judgment or settlement, it's important to monitor compliance with the court's orders or the terms of the settlement to ensure that the environmental issue is adequately addressed.

How can I finance an environmental claim?

We know that funding an environmental claim might be a worry, so we offer a range of options. These include:

  • Legal Aid

  • Legal expenses cover

  • Third party funding from environmental organisations, NGO’s, public interest groups etc.

  • After the Event insurance (ATE insurance)

  • Private payment

Our first consultation is free, and we will be happy to discuss funding with you to find the best option for your circumstances.

What is the time limit for bringing an environmental law claim?

Northern Ireland (NI):

Judicial Review: In NI, the time limit for bringing a judicial review claim, which can include challenges to environmental decisions or actions, is typically three months from the date when the grounds for the claim first arose.

Statutory Appeals: If your claim involves an appeal against a decision made by a government agency or authority under environmental regulations, the time limit may vary depending on the specific statute and regulation involved.

Tort Claims: If your environmental claim is based on a tort, such as personal injury or property damage due to environmental harm, the standard limitation period for tort claims in NI is six years from the date of the cause of action.

Republic of Ireland (ROI):

Judicial Review: In the Republic of Ireland, the time limit for bringing a judicial review claim is generally three months from the date when the grounds for the claim first arose.

Statutory Appeals: For environmental claims involving appeals against decisions made under specific environmental regulations and statutes, the time limit can vary. You should consult the relevant legislation for the specific time frame applicable to your case.

Tort Claims: If your claim is based on a tort, such as personal injury or property damage due to environmental harm, the standard limitation period in ROI is two years from the date of the cause of action.

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Our Environmental Solicitors

Conal McGarrityConal McGarrityDirector
Enda McGarrityEnda McGarritySolicitor
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