Prof. Dr. Pierre Brunet

Universität Paris 1 (Panthéon Sorbonne)

Curriculum Vitae

Prof. Dr. Pierre Brunet wurde 1997 als Doktor der Rechtswissenschaft an der Universität Paris Ouest-Nanterre La Défense mit einer Arbeit zum Thema „Le concept de représentation dans la théorie de l'Etat“ promoviert. Anschließend lehrte Pierre Brunet zunächst als Assistant Professor an der Universität Paris II (Panthéon-Assas) bevor er im Jahr 2000 zum Professor für Öffentliches Recht an der Universität Rouen ernannt wurde. Von 2004 bis 2015 war er als Professor an der Universität Paris Ouest-Nanterre La Défense tätig. Von 2009 bis 2014 war er membre junior des Institut Universitaire de France (IUF). Im Jahr 2015 wurde Prof. Brunet an die Universität Paris 1 (Panthéon Sorbonne) berufen, wo er den Lehrstuhl für öffentliches Recht innehat und den LL.M. droit français et droit europén und den Double LL.M. Sorbonne-Queen Mary leitet. Darüber hinaus war er von 2016 bis 2019 Direktor der Fakultät für Öffentliches Recht der Sorbonne Law School. Er ist Mitherausgeber und Mitglied in verschiedenen Redaktionsbeiräten französischer und ausländischer Zeitschriften, unter anderem verantwortlicher Herausgeber der Zeitschrift „Droit et Société“ (LGDJ). Gastprofessuren führten Pierre Brunet an Universitäten in Brasilien, Italien, Japan, den USA sowie Argentinien.

Seine Forschungsschwerpunkte umfassen die „jurisprudence“, die Rechtstheorie, das französische sowie das vergleichende Verfassungsrecht, das französische Verwaltungsrecht und die rechtliche Grundlagenforschung. Seit mehreren Jahren forscht er zu Fragen des Umweltschutzes aus verfassungsrechtlicher Sicht, Tierrechten und Umweltethik sowie der damit einhergehenden Verknüpfung von Verfassungsrecht und Rechtstheorie.

Von Mai bis September 2020 war Prof. Dr. Pierre Brunet Fellow am Käte Hamburger Kolleg „Recht als Kultur“ in Bonn.


“Rights of nature as a new paradigm? Towards a comparative and interdisciplinary approach”

Since Christopher Stone’s very first and founding paper “Should Trees Have Standing”, the concept of Rights of Nature has generated and continues nowadays to generate a lot of works not only in the US but also in Latin America, Europe and Asia.  Also the German-speaking area must be mentioned, as many papers were published in the 80’s of the 20th century in German journals.

The most famous case is, of course, the 2008 Constitution of Ecuador, which devotes a chapter to the rights of Mother Earth or Pachamama. Similarly, while the 2009 Bolivian Constitution does not contain a provision expressly recognizing the rights of nature but “a human right to a healthy environment”, the following year Bolivia adopted a law on the rights of Mother Earth. In addition, some instruments of international law have helped to give substance to the idea of the rights of nature by recognizing the intrinsic value of certain natural entities (e.g. Bern Convention, 1979; Rio Convention, 1992). Lately, many other examples were reported (USA, New Zealand, Colombia, India, Philippines, Brazil…), so that one could say that we are facing a “revolution that could save the world” (Boyd).  In contrast to an anthropocentric conception of the relationship between man and nature where nature has value because its usefulness to human beings, an ecocentric conception endorses the intrinsic value of nature: nature is good in itself regardless of any cause (because God created it) and any consequence (because people would be happier or more virtuous). This ecocentric way of thinking is beginning to spread through positive law from one continent to another, as shown by very recent cases. Although the term remains far from clear and raises several issues not only for positive environmental law and environmental policies but also for legal theory.
As it is often the case with legal texts, neither these rights nor the object called “nature” are clearly defined. Moreover, it should be added that “nature” does not exist as an object: it is a concept and we know that such a concept is a culturally determined one as it is the case for the distinction between culture and nature, humans and non-humans (Levi-Strauss, Escobar, Descola). We are then facing ontological, epistemological and theoretical issues: what does that mean to talk about “rights” for nature? Would these rights be given to “nature” or recognized? How shall we know these rights? Would these rights be balanced with human rights? Are these “rights of nature” part of natural law or of positive law? Is the distinction between natural law and positive law still relevant to give an account of the rights of nature?
My hypothesis is that “rights of nature” is a mixed term, a way of translating a non-western ontology into the western law’s categories and the issues are both legal and anthropological and also political. A truly realistic position requires us to appreciate what the discourses of rights of nature tell us about their supporter’s concept of law. Is it a legal pluralism in action? And in what kind of pluralism are we committed in using the term? Anyway, we are facing a powerful instrument for reorganizing legal categories in a much more ecological and less anthropocentric way of thinking about the law. Assuming a conception of law as culture, exploring and debating rights of nature seems more than necessary.

Publikationen (Auswahl)

  • «L’écologie des juges. La personnalité juridique des entités naturelles en Colombie et en Inde», in M.-A. Cohendet (dir.), Droit constitutionnel et environnement, Paris, Mare et Martin (forthcoming)
  • «French Legicentrism», in Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy, M. Sellers & S. Kirste (eds), Springer (forthcoming)
  • Para un análisis del discurso jurídico, trad. esp. Adriana María Cely R., Bogotá, Universidad Externado de Colombia, Centro de Investigación en Filosofía y Derecho, Serie de Teoría Jurídica y Filosofía del Derecho, n°98, 2019, 446 p
  • Cours de droit administratif 2019, avec Inès Lamouri et David Soldini, Paris, Éditions IEJ Jean Domat, coll. CRFPA (dir. Cl. François) 2019 [2e ed. à paraître, juin 2020]
  • «Vouloir pour la nature. La representation juridique des entités naturelles», in Journal of Interdisciplinary History of Ideas, vol. 8, n°15, 2019, p. 2-44.
  • «Les droits de la nature et la personnalité juridique des entités naturelles: un commun qui s'ignore? / Rights of Nature and Legal Personality of Natural Entities in New Zealand: Making a Commons?» in Giornale di Storia Costituzionale, n°38 (“Costituzione e mutamento. Crisi delle istituzioni rappresentative e nuove sfide della democrazia / Constitution and Change. Crisis of representative Institutions and new Challenges of Democracy”), 2/2019, p. 39-53
  • «Les animaux dans l’arène des juristes?» in F. Carrié et S. Traïni, S’engager pour les animaux, Paris PUF, coll. La vie des idées, 2019, p.73-87
  • «Protéger la constitution par des cours constitutionnelles ou la société par des jurys constitutionnels?», in A. Le Pillouer, La protection de la constitution. Finalités, mécanismes, justifications, Faculté de droit et des sciences sociales de Poitiers, 2018, p. 169-182
  • «Représentation et Staatslehre: entre incarnation et fiction», in M. Albertone et D. Castiglione, Les défis de la représentation. Langages et pratiques politiques à l'époque moderne, Paris, Classiques Garnier, 2018, p. 383-409
  • Formes et doctrines de l’État avec P. Bonin et S. Kerneis, Paris, Pedone, 2017