Access to Justice in Environmental Matters in the EU: The EU’s Difficult Road towards Non-compliance with the Aarhus Convention

Matthijs van Wolferen, Mariolina Eliantonio

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There is not only a long and commonly held (academic) opinion, but also an international obligation that requires the European Union to have easy access to justice for environmental non-governmental organisations (ENGOs). However, even under heavy international pressure, the standing requirements that limit the access to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for these applicants remain in place. This chapter aims to introduce the general system of access to justice under Article 263 and Article 267 TFEU. It will be explained how the Court has a particular view on how judicial review should function. It is however likely that this system has a number of deficiencies. These deficiencies are clearly brought to light in the complaint that was raised before the Aarhus Convention’s compliance mechanism. An analysis of this procedure and its problematic outcome will be used to discuss the future for these public interest litigants.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on EU Environmental Law
EditorsM. Peeters, M. Eliantonio
Place of PublicationCheltenham/Northampton
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781788970679
ISBN (Print)9781788970662
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

SeriesResearch Handbooks in European Law series


  • environmental law
  • court of justice
  • aarhus convention
  • public interest litigation
  • access to justice
  • EU Law

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