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Professor Yvonne Scannell

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  • Professor Yvonne Scannell

Areas of Interest

Irish and European Environmental Law, Planning Law, Contract, Legislation and Regulation, Administrative Law


Honora Josephine Yvonne Scannell M.A. LL.M.(Cantab), Ph.D., LL.D. (h.c.), Barrister. Professor Yvonne Scannell taught Irish and European Environmental Law, Planning Law, Legal Systems and Methods and Contract at Trinity College Dublin School of Law. She is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and Cambridge University. She has written six books and numerous articles on Environmental and Planning Law and some on Constitutional Law. She has been consistently nominated as one of Ireland’s leading environmental lawyers in professional surveys. Dr. Scannell has served on the Boards of Forfas, An Foras Forbartha, Habitat for Humanity, the Irish National Petroleum Corporation and on the Advisory Board of the EPA. She has worked for UNDP and the EU in Eastern Europe and she is on the Environmental Panel of the International Court of Arbitration. She is currently on the Boards of CIE, the EBS and Tara Mines. Dr. Scannell is a consultant on Environmental and Planning Law with Arthur Cox, Solicitors.


Career to date

University College, Cork 1972-74

Trinity College, Dublin 1974-2014

Arthur Cox, Solicitors 1989 to date (Of counsel in Environmental law) Arthur Cox is Ireland’s leading environmental law firm and was the No.1 law firm in the EU in 2009.

Company Director, various companies since 1978.


Served on the Boards of CIE (the National Transport Authority),  Coillte (the National Forestry Company), Irish Refining (an oil refinery), Forfas (the National Economic Research Institute), the Environmental Awareness Bureau, the Advisory Board to the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Awards and Distinctions

2014- 2019 Judge of European Nuclear Energy Tribunal , OCED, Paris.

2005-14 Judge of the International Court of Arbitration (Environmental Panel), The Hague.

2009- Visiting faculty University of San Francisco, Washington and Lee University, Vermont Law School, Bocconi University, Milan.

2009 –date Visiting faculty, Law School, University of Bocconi, Milan.

2011 Board of the Irish Fiscal Policy Research Centre

2009-2013  International Advisory Board, Vermont Law School. (This Law School has been rated the No 1 Environmental Law School in the USA for the last 14 years)

2009 – 2012, Summer Faculty, Vermont Law School

2006 Distinguished Visitor, University of Vermont Environmental Program

2004 President of the EU Jury for the European Environmental Awards.

2000 Prix Michel Despax and Medal.  European prize awarded each year by the European Council for Environmental Law for best contribution to the development of European Environmental law.

2004 Elected member Avocetta Group and European Council for Environmental Laws


Selection of other nominations by independent peer reviewers in respect of legal practice. Selection for nomination is by peer review.

 “Original thinker Yvonne Scannell is “one of the leading consultants in Ireland, and indeed Europe, in this field”.'
The Legal 500: Europe, Middle East & Africa, 2010

“A highly regarded authority on environmental law, and author of the seminal book on the topic. Now acts as a consultant to the firm's environmental group.' PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook, 2008

"Yvonne Scannell of Arthur Cox is arguably Ireland's leading specialist on environmental law, as well as being a planning expert, The European Legal 500: Law Firms in Europe.

“Arthur Cox's planning and environment group ... benefits from the consultancy of Dr Yvonne Scannell, one of Ireland's leading authorities in the field.”
The European Legal 500: Law Firms in Europe, 2004

2002 Listed as Ireland's leading environmental lawyer in European Legal  in Global Counsel 3000.

Listed as one of eight top Irish lawyers in The Super League of Irish Lawyers in Life Sciences in European Counsel 1999

1997 Listed as Ireland’s leading expert in Environmental Law in European Counsel 3000, A Handbook for Lawyers in Europe’s Leading Companies 1997.

Listed as one of Europe's Top 30 Environmental Lawyers, Financial Times 1997

Professional Qualifications

  • Honorary degree: LL.D. University of Washington and Lee, Lexington, Virginia, USA.

  • Ph.D. the University of Dublin  

  • LL.M. (Cantab.) Cambridge University

  • B.A. (Mod.) Legal Science, Dublin University

  • Barrister at Law, Kings Inns, Dublin



  • She is currently a Director of the Educational Building Society, CIE, and Tara Mines Ltd. 
  • She has also served on many Governmental bodies including the Advisory Board of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Environmental Awareness Bureau, the An Forbas Forbartha (the National Institute for Physical Planning and Development) and Forfas. 
  • She is on the editorial boards of the Irish Law Reports Monthly, the Irish Journal of Planning and Environmental Law.
  • Dr. Scannell was a founder member and first chairwoman of the Irish Association of Environmental Law and she is a member of the European and International Councils for Environmental Law. She has served on the board of directors of several public companies.

Selected Publications


Environmental and Land Use Law (Thomson Round Hall) (Brehon Series) (2005)clxiv +pp. 1067

The Habitats Directive in Ireland (with Clarke, Cannon, Doyle) (Centre for Environmental Policy and Law) (1999. Reprinted 2000). pp.224

Ireland, International Encyclopaedia of Laws, The Hague, Kluwer, 1994, 266 pp.

Irish Environmental and Planning Law, Irish Academic Press, 1995, lxxxvii + 584pp.

The World Charter for Nature, Erich Schmidt Verlag, Berlin, 1986, 194 pp.(with Members of the European Council for Environmental Law)

The Law and Practice Relating to Pollution Control in Ireland, (2nd ed.) London, Graham and Trotman, 1982, 215 pp.

The Law and Practice Relating to Pollution Control in Ireland, London, Graham and Trotman,  1974, 224pp


Book chapters

“Public Participation in Environmental Decision-Making in Ireland” In Environmental Democracy and Law, Europa Publishing, (2014) pp.192-217.

“Local Government in Ireland”  in Local government in the member states of the European Union: a comparative legal perspective, (ed. Angel-Manuel Moreno), Madrid, National Institute of Public Administration, Spain (Instituto Nacional de Administración Pública. IN, 2012, pp309 – 338.

“The Human Rights to Water and Sanitation in Ireland”  in L’eau potable et à L’assainissement, sa mise en oeuvre en Europe- The Implementation of the Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation in Europe, , (ed. Henri Smets) France, Académie de l’Eau, 2011, pp327 – 346.

“Innovations and Adaptations to Climate Change in Irish Law” in Climate Change:la riposta del diretto, , (eds F. Fraacchia e M. Occhiena), Napoli, Editorale Scientifica Napoli, 2010, pp437 – 466.

“A Right to Sanitation?”  in, editor(s)Henri Smetts , Le Droit a L'Assainissement dans les Legislations Nationales, Paris , Academie de l'Eau, Paris, France, 2009, pp171 – 179.

“Environmental Law “ in Construction Projects Law and Practice, (ed. Anthony Hussey) , Dublin , Thompson , 2009, pp2-01 - 2-70.

“Policy and Planning for Sustainability: a legal framework for sustainable development in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland” in, A Living Countryside? The Politics of Sustainable Development in Rural Ireland, (eds J. McDonagh, T. Varley, S. Shorthall) London, Ashgate Publishing, 2009, pp25 - 53, [with Sharon Turner]

“Town and County Planning and Natura 2000 in Ireland” in Amenagement du Territoire, Urbanisme et Reseau Natura 2000 (with Oran Doyle), Ed Edicoes Almedina (Cedoua) 2009, 193-206.

“Environmental Controls”  in Construction Law in Construction Projects law and Practice, (eds Keane and Hussey) (Thomson Round Hall (2007) pp 2-01 – 2-70)

" Access to Justice in Environmental Matters in Ireland" in Access to Justice in Environmental Matters in the EU/Accès à la justice en matière d'environnement dans l'UE (Kluwer, The Hague,  2002) 279-312.

“Ireland" in 4 Yearbook of Environmental Law (Oxford University Press, 2002) 611-621.

“Environmental Law” Annual Review of Irish Law 2002, (eds. Byrne and Binchy) (Round Halll, Sweet and Maxwell, 2002, 192 – 2000.

"Environmental Law" in Annual Review of Irish Law (eds. Byrne and Binchy) Round Hall, Sweet and Maxwell, 2002, 192-200.

“Environmental Law” in Annual Review of Irish Law, eds Byrne and Binchy, Dublin, Round Hall Sweet and Maxwell, 2001, 248-261.

"Mechanismes de plainte et de recours nationaux non juridictionnels pur manque de respect des regles communautairs relatives a la protection de l'environnment en Irlande" in Mechanismes de plainte et de recours nationaux non juriditionnels pur manque de respect des regles communautaires relatives a la protection de l'environnment. Conseil Europeen du Droit de l'Environnement, (Madeira, 2001) 116-123.

“Ireland” in 3 Yearbook of European Environmental Law (Oxford University Press , 2001) 639-656.

 “Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters” in Human Rights – the Citizen and the State (eds., Sarkin and Binchy ((Round Hall Sweet and Maxwell , 2001) 140-167.

“Murphy v Attorney General- the Taxation of Married Women in Ireland” in Leading cases of the twentieth century” Ed. E. O’Dell, (Round Hall Sweet and Maxwell, 2000) 327 – 52.

“Integrated Pollution Control Law in Ireland” in Public Law and the Environment (eds. Farris and Turner)United Kingdom Environmental Law Association, 2000,  139-162.

“Environmental Law” in Annual Review of Irish Law, eds Byrne and Binchy, Dublin, Round Hall Sweet and Maxwell, 2000, 181-191.

'Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters in Ireland', Human Rights, the Citizen and the State (Dublin, 2001), p. 141

"Ireland" in 2 Yearbook of Environmental Law (Oxford University Press, 2000) 499-510 “DeValera’s Constitution and Ours” in Irish Women’s History (eds Urquharat and Hayes), (Routledge, London 2000) 71-79.

“Environmental Law” in Annual Review of Irish Law, eds Byrne and Binchy, Dublin, Round Hall Sweet and Maxwell, 1998, 300-317.

"Review of the Implementation of the European Community Environmental Impact Assessment Directive in Ireland" in Review of European Environmental Impact Assessment  Implementation in the EEC Member States, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, 1990, G1-G6.

"The Constitution and the Role of Women" in DeValera's Constitution and Ours, ed. Brian Farrell, Dublin, Gill and Macmillan. 1988, 123-36 and extract in Ireland's Women - Writings Past and Present, 1994, 200-202. This paper was also delivered on Radio as a Thomas Davis Lecture in 1987 and rebroadcast twice since.

"Changing Times for Women’s Rights" in Irishwomen - Image and Achievement, , Dublin 1985, 61-73.


Journal articles (Selection)

 “The Regulation of Mining and Mining Waste in the EU”, Washington and Lee Journal of Energy, Climate and the Environment, 3, (2), 2012, p177 - 267

‘The Catastrophic Failure of the Planning System’, Dublin University Law Journal, 33, 2011, pp.396 – 428. Referred to in a High Court judgment on 27 July 2012

‘Renewable Energy Policies, Programmes and Progress’ in Ireland, Journal of Energy and Natural Resources Law, 29, (2), 2011, p155 – 176 .

‘Climate Change in Ireland Part II, Irish Planning and Environmental Law’, 18, (2), 2011, p56 – 65

‘Climate Change Law in Ireland Part I’, Irish Planning and Environmental Law , 18, (2), 2011, p5 – 10

‘The Right of Access to Nature’, Environmental Policy and Law, 40, 2011, p. 229

‘The Influence of EU Environmental Law in Ireland’, Global Law, 2007, p2 – 6

‘Actualite des developments recent de l'interpretation du droit communautaire de l'environnment en Irlande’, Revue Europeenne de Droit de l'Environnment , 2007, (3), 2007, pp.231 – 331

‘Chronique Nationale Irlande en 2002’, Revue Europeenne de Droit de L’Environnment, 2006, pp.273 – 290.

"Environmental Impact Assessment: Browne v An Bórd Pleanála", Journal of Environmental Law" 2 (1990), 209-23.

Selection of papers in conference proceedings

Redress for Environmental Damage, Keynote Speaker,  EPA and ICEL Conference on Environmental Law, Royal Irish Academy, 2014

The Irish Regulatory Response to Austerity in the EU, Reggio Calabria, Italy, 2014

EU Environmental Law, Training Chinese Superior Court Judges in Xian, Nanning, Lanzau , China, 2014.

Reforming Planning Law, 21st Anniversary Lecture, Irish Association of Environmental  Law, Dublin 2014

The Human Right to Water in Reforming Water Law, Dublin 2014

Appropriate assessments and Environmental Impact Statements, Institute of Engineers, Galway, 2014.

Environmental Impact Assessment in EU Environmental Law, Judicial Studies Institute, Trier, Barcelona and Bucarest 2013 & 2014.

Nature Conservation Laws in Ireland, Institute of Engineers, Sligo, November 2012

Regulating Resource Extraction: Creating Order in a Legal Morass,  Keynote Speaker, Lexington ,Virginia, 2011.

The Producer Pays Responsibility in EU Waste Law, European Environmental Law Association, Oxford, July 2011

Issues with the ownership of rights to geothermal energy, San Francisco, California, 2010

The Application of the Principles of EC Environmental Law in Ireland, European Law Association, Oxford, 2009

Groundwater: a resource at risk? International Association of Hydrogeologists (Irish Branch), Port Laoise, April 2008

The Peculiar Principles of EU Environmental Law, Vermont Law School, July 2007.

Issues relating to Groundwater and Sustainability,  Keynote speaker, Association of Hydrogeologists, Port Laoise, September 2007

EU Waste Law, CHWMEG/European Association of Environmental Lawyers Conference in Denver Colorado, April 2006

A Human Right of Access to Nature? à l’Institut de l’Etat et du droit de l’Académie des sciences de Prague, May 2006

Implications of the EU Liability Directive in Ireland, IBEC Annual Conference, December 2006

Environmental Liabilities in Ireland, European Environmental law Association, Oxford,  June 2006.

Proposal for a Draft Resolution on A Right of Access to Nature, European Council on Environmental Law, Madeira, September 2006

International Transport of Waste at CHWMEG/European Environmental Law Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 2004

Environmental Liability , Irish Business and Employers’ Association (IBEC)  Annual Environmental Conference, 2004.

Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, Cape Town, South Africa, September 2000

Environmental Legislation - does it meet the challenges?,  Irish Business and Employers Association Conference, Dublin November 2000

Problems in Defining Waste, Institute of Waste Management Conference, Dublin, 1999.

Irish Water Rights, Madeira Conference on the Human Right to Water, November 1999.

Integrated Pollution Control  in Ireland, UK Environmental Law Association, Belfast, April 1999.

Techniques for Environmental Management, Tanzania, September, 1999.

Leading Cases of the Twentieth Century – Murphy v Attorney General, the Taxation of Married Women at Irish Law Teachers Association, Killarney, April 1999.

Problems with the Habitats Directive in Ireland at University of Trier Conference on EU Law, Dublin, June 1999.

Environmental Law and the Environmental Citizen – Aberdeen Centre for Environmental Law. 1999.

Planning Law Reforms,  Elected Officials and the Planning System, Kilkenny Conference of Elected Officials, 1999.

The Planning and Development Bill 1999, County Secretaries Association, 1999.

Reforms in Integrated Pollution Control, IBEC, 1998.

Sewage Sludge in Agriculture, European Waste Association, Brussels, June 1998.

Sustainable Environmental Decision-Making, Imperial College, London, September 1998



“Women and the Constitution” Thomas Davis Lecture Series, 1997. Re-broadcast periodically since then.

“The Murphy Case” Famous Irish Law Cases, 2005. Rebroadcast twice



Submission to Department of the Environment on Water Policy 2012 (with Prof Frank Convery)

Submissions to the Department of the Environment on the Review of the EPA 2010

Submissions to the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution 2002 on  access to the countryside 2002

Reports on Irish Environmental Law to Avocetta Group (available on the internet)

Boards of Editors of the Irish Law Reports Monthly and the Irish Journal of Planning and Environmental Law.

Advisory Board of the International Journal of Law in the Built Environment (IJLBE) nominated the best 'Best New Journal Award 2012.'

Formerly on boards of European Environmental and Energy Law Review, the International Environmental Reporter, Journal of Environmental Law .  

Advisor to EU, UNEP