Justifying a presumed standing for environmental NGOs: A legal assessment of Article 9(3) of the Aarhus Convention

Audrey Danthinne*, Mariolina Eliantonio, Marjan Peeters

*Corresponding author for this work

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The Aarhus Convention is a well-known cornerstone of environmental law on the European continent. Nevertheless, interpretative dilemmas have arisen, particularly in relation to access to justice for environmental nongovernmental organizations (ENGOs). More precisely, while the standing criterion in Article 9(2) of the Convention is formulated in a rather precise and generous way for ENGOs, the standing criterion in Article 9(3) has been deliberately kept vague and makes no reference to ENGOs. In the meantime, some courts, both at the national and European Union (EU) level, have linked the scope ratione personae of Article 9(2) to that of Article 9(3), thus recognizing a presumed and therefore generous standing for ENGOs under both provisions. Because the Aarhus Convention explicitly provides for such an advantageous presumption only under Article 9(2), this article seeks to assess whether these remarkable judicial interpretations nonetheless find a convincing basis in EU law or in the Aarhus Convention respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-420
Number of pages10
JournalReview of European Community and International Environmental Law
Early online date28 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

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