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About us Faculty of Law Research Centres of Expertise Groningen Centre for Empirical Legal Research

Lorenzo Squintani

Lorenzo Squintani is specialised in European Environmental Law. His empirical research agenda focuses on Environmental Democracy, in particular public participation in decision making and judicial cooperation between national and EU judges. He has authored more than 70 publications in the areas of public participation and environmental law (for an overview see His work is quoted by the Court of Justice of the European Union, The Dutch Supreme Court and the Dutch Council of State. He successfully attracted external funding for research, conferences, reports and teaching (in total worth about €970.000). He is regularly invited at international Symposia and Academy institutions, such as the Academy of European Law (ERA), to speak about public participation and climate change. He is founder and member of the managing boards of the U4 Environmental Law Network and of the European Environmental Law Forum (, which regularly organise international symposia about public participation and climate change. He is also Chief Editor of the Journal for European Environmental and Planning Law (JEEPL) and he is Series Editor of the EELF Book Series, both regularly hosting manuscripts about public participation and climate change. Together with psychologist Goda Perlaviciute, Lorenzo Squintani has established the Like!Me Living Lab, in which he cooperates with the Province of Groningen, the Province of South Holland and Municipalities in these two provinces, as well as other societal partners, to perform empirical research on the effectiveness of public participation procedures.

Expertise in GELR

  • Network building
  • Databases construction, search and coding
  • Modelling
  • Quantitative methodology with SPSS
  • Qualitative methodology by semi-structured interviews, monitoring and case studies
  • Real life and lab-experiments

Selected list of Publications
Goda Perlaviciute and Lorenzo Squintani, Public Participation in Climate Policy Making: Toward Reconciling Public Preferences and Legal Frameworks, One Earth, 2020, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp. 341-348, DOI: (Quantitative research)

Lorenzo Squintani, Beyond Minimum Harmonisation: Gold-Plating and Green-Plating of European Environmental Law, Cambridge University Press, 2019, DOI: (Databases search and coding, modelling)

Lorenzo Squintani and Justin Lindeboom, The Normative Impact of Invoking Directives: Casting Light on Direct Effect and the Elusive Distinction Between Obligations and Mere Adverse Repercussions, Yearbook of European Law, 2019, 38, 18-72. DOI: (Modelling)

Lorenzo Squintani and Dionne Annink, Judicial Cooperation in Environmental Matters: Mapping National Courts’ Behaviour in Follow-up Cases – The Netherlands, Journal For European Environmental & Planning Law, 2018, 15(2), 147-170. DOI: (Qualitative research)

Lorenzo Squintani and John Rakipi, Judicial cooperation in environmental matters: Mapping national courts behaviour in follow-up cases – the United kingdom, Environmental Law Review, 2018, 20(2), 89-108. DOI: (Qualitative research)

Research Agenda
A. Public Participation

Public participation in decision-making – namely the processes organized by responsible parties (both public and private parties) to engage the public in the planning, development, and implementation of policies – is considered a critical factor for successful policy implementation.  The problem is that it is currently not well understood whether, how and when public participation can deliver its benefits.

The knowledge gap rests on the fact that behavioural scientists focus on the key concepts of ‘early engagement’, i.e. engagement of people in decision-making processes when all options are still possible, and ‘real voice’, i.e. allowing people to shape the final decision.  Yet, they neglect the existence of a decision-making chain and of the macro-policy that precedes the development of concrete projects. This leads to a too narrow understanding of the key concepts of ‘early engagement’ and ‘real voice’. Lawyers are perfectly aware of the existence of a decision-making chain, but focus only on meeting procedural requirements,  failing to take into account behavioural effectiveness, i.e. whether human behaviour changes in the desired manner.  Moreover, both branches of science flag the importance of developing strategies to include marginalised societal groups and human values,  but fail to provide concrete guidance to achieve this goal.

To improve the state-of-art knowledge on public participation procedures, psychologist Dr. Goda Perlaviciute and I founded the Like! My Environment (Like!Me) Living Lab in 2018, collaborating with many public and private parties in the Groningen province. Within this Living Lab we perform research on how to solve two key shortcomings in governance related to public participation procedures: i) the persisting marginalisation of certain societal groups and core human values, and ii) a mismatch between how procedures are shaped within the decision-making chain and how people tend to behave during such procedures.

Access to Justice

In the field of access to justice, the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee recently concluded that the EU is breaching the Convention requirements on access to justice.  The EU disagrees, by relying on the functioning of the preliminary reference procedure under Article 267 TFEU.  The functioning of the preliminary reference procedure as a tool to spur Environmental Democracy requires specific investigation

In this regard, my research focuses on mapping and unfolding the kind of judicial cooperation taking place between national judges and the Court of Justice EU in follow-up judgments (i.e. judgements rendered by national courts after they received a preliminary ruling judgment from the Court of Justice). In this area, my research turns around three fundamental questions:

  1. How do national courts behave when they render a follow-up judgment?
  2. What factors influence national courts behaviour in follow-up judgments?
  3. What does national courts' behaviour in follow-up judgments mean for the users of the judiciary system and for the level of trust in the EU-national legal order?

Last modified:12 January 2022 2.15 p.m.