How to represent the silent environment? An Update on Germany’s Struggle to Implement Article 9 (3) of the Aarhus Convention

Amelie Ohler*, Marjan Peeters, Mariolina Eliantonio

*Corresponding author for this work

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With Germany’s signature to the Aarhus Convention in 1998, the country committed to strengthening the legal position of environmental Non-Governmental Organisations (eNGOs). Since, traditionally, in Germany, “public interest litigation” was legally impossible, the country had to consider fundamental changes to its system of judicial review. More than 20 years later, the German implementation of Article 9(3) of the Aarhus Convention (ac) has seen several amendments, but is still cause for controversy. Despite Germany’s prolonged efforts to adapt its legislation, there are, currently, two admitted complaints concerning Germany’s system of legal standing of eNGOs waiting
for a (final) decision by the ac Compliance Committee, while several cjeu judgments have clarified the much-needed interpretation of Article 9(3) ac particularly also in view of the notion of effective judicial protection. These developments, together with scholarly criticism, indicate a need for further legal change in the German approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370–389
Number of pages20
JournalJournal for European Environmental & Planning Law
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2021


  • Article 9(3) Aarhus Convention
  • access to justice for eNGOs
  • public interest litigation
  • Germany
  • enforcement of (EU) environmental law

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