Polluter Pays, Prevention, Civil, Administrative

In this case, the plaintiff is the owner of land lots where the underground is polluted by the presence of chemicals. The ministry of Environment issued an order commanding the plaintiff to establish an analytical programme of its grounds in order to assess the extent of the pollution of the ground and of the groundwater.

The plaintiff challenged the order in front of the administrative tribunal on the ground that it is not because he is the owner of the land that he owns and is responsible for the pollution. He pointed out that the land lots had been rented to several industries by the past and that it was possible that the pollution was resulting from some of their activities. The plaintiff also raised the polluter pays principle to explain that because he was not the person responsible for the pollution, he was not supposed to pay for the cost of its assessment.

The Tribunal dismissed the appeal. The administrative judges pointed out that because the pollution was located under the ground of one of the land owned by the plaintiff, he was considered to possess it but not to own it. Similarly, the court held that the polluter pays principle could not be used by the plaintiff in this context because the polluter pays principle only applies to the cleansing of the pollution and not its assessment.