The role of Engos in environmental litigation: a French case study

P. Bentata*, M.G. Faure

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Both lawyers and economists are enthusiastic about the role of environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs). However, when dealing with ENGOs, most academic studies focus only on their actions as interest/pressure groups and no systematic empirical research exists addressing the question of how ENGOs use environmental litigation and courts to fill their goals. In this article, we try to observe whether ENGOs have specific goals and specific strategies in trials. We do this on the basis of a unique database consisting of the entire set of environmental cases judged by the French Supreme Court during 1956–2010. We conclude that ENGOs' legal actions encourage compliance with regulation and help solve civil liability failures, especially causal uncertainty and victims' apathy. Finally, we observe that ENGOs act as latent interest groups that become active only under specific circumstances to ask for more stringent regulation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459–473
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental Policy and Governance
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015


  • NGOs
  • civil liability
  • courts
  • environmental regulation
  • interest groups
  • legal strategies


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