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This article theorises the national implementation of European and international decisions on environmental conflicts, integrating both judgments from courts and so-called managerial decisions from (non-)compliance mechanisms in multilateral environmental agreements. Starting from the observation that the impact of climate change is increasing with backlash from populist governments and political regimes against its mitigation, implementing legal obligations in the absence of specialised environmental courts is crucial to protect the environment from harm. However, systematic insights on the national implementation of judgments and managerial decisions made beyond the nation state are underexplored. Following a political science perspective, this article conceptualises the conditions explaining this phenomenon by making use of existing research from various disciplines including political science and law on policy implementation to enable systematic comparisons. For this purpose, the article outlines a concept structural approach based on two hypothesised explanations: one based on the mechanisms used to solve conflicts, and another relating to the legitimacy of relevant institutions and processes of conflict resolution. These explanatory pathways reflect the existing management and enforcement approaches from the political science literature on implementation and follow a conjunctural logic. The theoretical approach developed in this article enables systematic comparisons across decisions and thus accounts for a variety of separate but equally valid explanations. Future research and empirical analysis will directly feed back into the concept structure for further theoretical development and lead to generalisable insights on the national implementation of court judgments and managerial decisions on environmental conflicts. In this way, the aim is to contribute to both political science and legal literature regarding European and international environmental law, environmental politics, and judicial governance.
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.
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