Macquarie University
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The precautionary principle and genetically modified organisms: a bone of contention between European institutions and member states

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posted on 2022-03-29, 02:44 authored by Alessandra Guida
This dissertation examines how the Precautionary Principle, as an internationally recognised concept enshrined in a range of legal instruments, has been applied to provide a mechanism for protection of the environment and health in response to the introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in Europe. It examines how the European Court of Justice substantively handled the risk assessment phase across three seminal cases between 2003 and 2011 in which Member States had failed in their attempt to trigger the Precautionary Principle in order to uphold a ban or suspension of the cultivation or sale of products derived from GMOs in their territory. The analysis of these judgements suggests that the Court has applied a narrow approach to the evidence provided by national governments during the risk assessment stage, and has thereby limited the potential for precautionary measures by Member States to be upheld by the Court. This outcome reflects a ‘weak’ application of the Precautionary Principle by the Court in contrast with the ‘strong’ interpretation implied by the European legal and policy framework and objections of Member States.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Chapter I. The precautionary principle -- Chapter II. The precautionary principle and genetically modified organisms under the European legal framework -- Chapter III. The precautionary principle and genetically modified organisms : analysis of three seminal cases of the European Court of Justice (2003-2011) -- Chapter IV. A high level of protection for health and the environment vs free circluation of GMOs on the European market : interests in conflict -- Bibliography.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 75-86

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Macquarie Law School

Department, Centre or School

Macquarie Law School

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

George F. Tomossy

Additional Supervisor 1

Shawkat Alam


Copyright Alessandra Guida 2016. Copyright disclaimer:






1 online resource (86 pages)

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