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Case law related to the Convention

Through para. 16 (a) (ii) of decision III/3, paras. 5 and 13 (a) of decision IV/2, paras. 5 and 14 (b) of decision V/3, paras. 5 and 15 (b) of decision VI/3, the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention requested the Task Force on Access to Justice to provide a platform for sharing information, experiences and good practices related to access to justice by supporting a portal for the exchange of jurisprudence concerning the Aarhus Convention for use by judges, legal professionals, academics and other stakeholders.

Parties to the Convention and other stakeholders are kindly invited to submit on ongoing basis the following information about cases that make reference to the Aarhus Convention and its principles: case summaries (in English) and decisions from the courts and other bodies,  the decisions of which have precedence in the legal system, concerning “Aarhus issues” (i.e. either by reference to the Aarhus Convention itself, or to domestic legislation implementing the Convention or dealing with the principles of the Convention). Also, cases involving a country from relevant judicial bodies at the regional level, such as the European Court of Human Rights.

Case summaries as reviewed by the Chair of the Task Force on Access to Justice in consultation with the secretariat and the submitter will be uploaded below.

A template (ENG and RUS) and an example (ENG and RUS) have been prepared to facilitate submission of relevant cases. Please send the submissions to the Aarhus Convention secretariat (public.participation[at]unece.org).

The jurisprudence has been included in the Aarhus Clearingshouse for Environmental Democracy.

A

CountryCourt
 Case
Summary
Issue
ArmeniaGeneral Jurisdiction Court of First Instance of Syunik Region
22 residents of the Kapan city v. Armenian Sewerage Compan
24 March 2011
ENGAccess to justice
(art 9 para 3)
ArmeniaCassation CourtTeghout mine case
30 October 2009 and
1 April 2011
ENGNGOs standing (art 2, paras 4 and 5, art 9, paras 2 and 3)
ArmeniaConstitutional CourtDecision of the Constitutional Court of Armenia N906
9 July 2010
ENGNGOs standing (art 2, paras 4 and 5, art 9, paras 2 and 3)
ArmeniaAdministrative Court of ArmeniaDolphynarium case
10 April 2012
ENGNGOs standing (art 2, paras 4 and 5, art 9, paras 2 and 3)

B

CountryCourt
Case
Summary
Issue
BelgiumConstitutional Court
d'Arripe c.s. v Valloon Region (fr, nl, de)
14 September 2006
ENGPublic participation, access to justice, plans and programmes (art. 7)
BelgiumConstitutional Court
Inter-Environment Wallonie v Walloon Region (fr, nl, de)
14 September 2006
ENGPublic participation, plans and programmes (art. 7)
BelgiumConstitutional Court
Lenaerts c.s v 's Heerenbosch (fr, nl, de)
26 April 2007
ENGAccess to justice (art. 9, para. 3)
BelgiumCouncil of StateENGAccess to environmental information (art. 4, paras. 1, 3, 4 and 6)
BelgiumCouncil of StateENGNGO standing (art. 2, para. 5, and art. 9, para. 5)
BelgiumCouncil of StateBoxus and W. Roua
27 March 2009
ENGPublic participation, access to justice and projects (art. 2, para. 2, and art. 9, para. 2)
BelgiumConstitutional Court
Solvay c.s. v. Walloon Region (fr, nl, de
22 November 2012
ENGPublic participation, access to justice and projects (art. 2, para. 2, art. 3, para. 9, art. 6, para. 9, and art 9, paras. 2-4)
BelgiumCouncil of StateIMMO Dominique
18 December 2012
ENGAccess to justice and environmental permitting (art. 2, para. 2, art. 3, para. 9, art. 6, para. 8, and art. 9, para. 2 and 4)
BelgiumSupreme courtPP and PSLV v. Gewestelijk Stedenbouwkundig Inspecteur and M vzw
11 June 2013
ENGStanding of environmental NGO in a criminal case (art. 2, para. 4, art. 3, para. 4, and art. 9, para. 3)
BelgiumConstitutional CourtLauwers c.s., vzw Ademloos c.s., G. Bergmans c.s. and M. Van Damme v. Flemish Government 23 January 2014ENG

Definition of "public" and "public concerned" (Art. 2 para. 4, art. 2 para. 5) and access to justice (art. 9, paras 2 to 4)

BelgiumCourt of Appeal, GhentCITES Crime case
7 May 2015
ENGRights of ENGO in criminal proceedings (art. 9, paras. 3 and 4)
BelgiumConstitutional CourtCase Vogelbescherming Vlaanderen and Terre wallonne (fr, nl. de)
21 January 2016
ENGThe right of environmental NGOs to claim moral damages (art. 9, paras. 3 and 4)

F

CountryCourt
Case
Summary
Issue
FranceConseil d'Etat

Conseil d'Etat No266668
Association des habitans du Littoral du Morbihan 
7 August 2007

ENGAccess to environmental information (art 4)

G

CountryCourt
Case
Summary
Issue
GermanyOberwaltungsgericht SchleswigENGAccess to justice (art 9 paras 2 and 5)
GermanyBundesverwaltungsgerichtDarmstadt case, BVerwG 7 C 21.12ENGAccess to justice (art 9 para 3) and Definitions art 2, para 5

H

CountryCourt
Case
Summary
Issue
HungarySupreme Court
Tubes Hill Case
17 March 2010
ENGAccess to information and public participation in activity serving national defence purposes

I

CountryCourt
Case
Summary
Issue
ItalyConsiglio di Stato
Codacons v Ministry of the Environment
18 December 2007
ENGPublic participation (art 6, 7 and 8), access to justice (art 9)
ItalyConsiglio di Stato
Horiba di Bombini G. e C. s.n.c. v Comitato Regionale Pugliese di Legambiente
14 April 2006
ENGStanding (art 2 para 5), access to justice (art 9)
ItalyCorte Suprema di Cassazione
Verdi Ambiente e Società ONLUS v Tribunale di Foggia
14 November 2006
ENGNGO standing (art 2 para 5), access to justice (art 9)
ItalyConsiglio di Stato
Italia Nostra, Legambiente, WWF v Presidenza del Consiglio dei ministri et al.
22 July 2005
ENGAccess to information (art 4 and 5), public participation (art 6)
ItalyConsiglio di Stato
Regione Veneto v Legambiente of Verona et al
17 July 2004
ENGStanding (art 2 para 5), public participation (art 6), access to justice (art 9)
ItalyConsiglio di Stato
National Organisation of Nuclear Physics v Engineers Association
7 September 2004
ENGAccess to information (art 4 and 5), public participation (art 6)
ItalyConsiglio di Stato
Region of Lombardia; ’La Rinascente’ v Legambiente
16 December 2003
ENGNGO standing (art 2 para 5), plans programs and policies (art 7), access to justice (art 9)
ItalyConsiglio di Stato
Landesverband für Heimatpflege in Südtirol v Provincia di Bolzano; Comune di Monguelfo
9 October 2002
ENGStanding (art 2 para 5), access to justice (art 9)
ItalyConsiglio di Stato
CODACONS Nazionale e CODACONS Centro Marche v Comune di Potenza Picena et al
11 July 2001
ENGStanding (art 2 para 5), access to justice (art 9)

L

CountryCourt
 Case
Summary
Issue
LatviaConstitutional Court
Case 2008-03-03 on compliance of Regulation No 67 of the Riga City Council with the Spatial Planning Law and art 115 of the Constitution
24 September 2008
ENGAccess to environmental information, access to justice, public participation (art 2, art 4, art 6, art 7, art 9)
LatviaConstitutional Court
Case 2008-38-03 on compliance of Regulations No 8 and No19 of the Municipality of Jurmala with art 115 of the Constitution
6 July 2009
ENGPublic participation, access to environmental information (art 4,
art 7, art 9 para 2)
LatviaConstitutional Court
On Compliance of the Binding Regulation No. 67 of 19 December 2006 of the Riga City Council "Regulations of Use and Building of the Territory in Maskava Street 264 (Cadastre No. 01000780413) and Maskava Street without Number" with Item 1 of Section 3 of the Spatial Planning Law, Item 4 of the First Part of Section 37 of the Protection Zone Law and art. 115 of the Satversme (Constitution) of the Republic of Latvia
ENGAccess to environmental information, access to justice, public participation (art 2, art 4, art 6, art 7, art 9)
LatviaConstitutional Court
On compliance of the Cabinet of Ministers 8 August 2001 Decree No. 401 "On the Location of the Hazardous Waste Incineration Facility in Olaine" with art. 111 and 115 of the Satversme, art. 5 and 6 (Items 1-3) of the Waste Management Law, art. 3 and 11 of the Law "On the Environmental Impact Assessment", art. 14 and 17 (the First Part) of the Law on Pollution as well as art. 11 of the Law ‘On Environmental Protection’
ENGAccess to environmental information, access to justice, public participation (art 3 para 2, art 4, art 6 (annex I para 5) art 9)
LatviaSupreme CourtPolitical party "Jaunais Laiks" and Association of Protection of the City of Jurmala v. Jurmala City Council (SKA-325/2010)ENG

Access to Justice (Article 9)

LatviaSupreme CourtCouncil of the City of Ventspils v. State Environmental Service’s Regional Environmental Board of the city of Ventspils  (SKA – 424/2012).ENGPublic participation in decisions on specific activities (Article 6) and Access to Justice (Article 9)
LatviaSupreme CourtAssociation "Mezaparka attistibas biedriba" v. Council of the City of Riga for its non-compliance with a decision of State’s Inspection on Environmental Matters (SKA-2015/2011)ENGAccess to Justice (Article 9)
LithuaniaSupreme Administrative Court A. Ž. and others v. Ministry of Environment and its Vilnius Regional Protection Department
2 December 2011
ENGAccess to justice (art. 1, art. 2, para. 4 and art. 9, paras. 3 and 4)
LithuaniaSupreme Administrative Court “Žvėryno bendruomenė” v. administration of Vilnius municipality
9 December 2010
ENGPublic Participation and Access to Justice (art. 6 and art. 9, paras. 2 and 3)
LithuaniaSupreme CourtDistrict Chief Prosecutor v. “Bitė Lietuva”
21 December 2011
ENGPublic participation, plans and programmes(art. 7)
LithuaniaSupreme Administrative Court
Case re the Curonian Spit national park management plan
28 September 2012
ENGAccess to justice (art. 9)
LithuaniaSupreme CourtCSC “Saerimner”
16 January 2013
ENGAccess to justice (art. 9, paras. 2 and 3)

R

CountryCourt
Case
Summary
Issue
Pepublic of MoldovaCurtea de Apel ChisinauCase 3-2039/2008 (MD)
NGO "Eco-Tiras" v. Moldsilva
23 June 2008
ENGAccess to environmental information (art. 2, paras. 2-4, art. 3 and 4), access to justice (art. 9, para. 1)

S

CountryCourt
Case
Summary
Key issue
SpainTribunal SupremoENGNGO standing (art 2 para 5), access to justice (art 9)
SpainTribunal Superior de Justicia de CanariasPort of Granadilla, (Decision on interim measures # 66/09)
15 June 2009
ENGInjunction (art 9 paras. 3 and 4)
SpainSupreme CourtDam of Itoiz case, STS 6202/2011
29September 2011

ENG
Access to information, material in the course of completion (art 4, para 3 (c))
SwedenEnvironmental Court of Appeal (Miljööverdomstolen)Mettinge (Sweden); MÖD 2001:29
27 June 2001
ENGPublic concerned (neighbours) (art 2 and art 9 para 3)
SwedenEnvironmental Court of Appeal (Mark- och miljööverdomstolen)Uppsala Värme (Sweden); MÖD 2002:82
3 December 2002
ENGPublic concerned (art 2 para 5 and art 9 para 2)
SwedenEnvironmental Court of Appeal (Mark- och miljööverdomstolen)Ödeshög (Sweden); MÖD 2003:19
12 March 2003
ENGPublic concerned and omission by public authority (art 2 para 5 and art 9 para 3)
SwedenEnvironmental Court of Appeal (Mark- och miljööverdomstolen)Perstorp (Sweden); MÖD 2003:98, MÖD 2003:99
17 October 2003
ENGPublic concerned (art 2 para 5 and art 9)
SwedenEnvironmental Court of Appeal (Mark- och miljööverdomstolen)Gotland (Sweden); MÖD 2004:31
15 June 2004
ENGPublic concerned and omission by public authority (art 2 para 5 and art 9 para 3)
SwedenEnvironmental Court of Appeal (Mark- och miljööverdomstolen)

Ragnsells (Sweden); MÖD 2011:46
12 December 2012

ENGPublic concerned and omission by public authority (art 2 para 5 and art 9 para 2)
SwedenSupreme Court (Högsta domstolen)Brännö Brygga, NJA 2004 s. 590
21 October 2004
ENGPublic concerned (neighbours) (art 2 para 5 and art 9)
SwedenSupreme Administrative Court (Regeringsrätten)Gabbens bergtäkt (Sweden); RÅ 1993 ref. 97
16 November 1993
ENGPublic concerned and the public interest (art 2 para 5 and art 9 paras 2 and 3)
SwedenSupreme Administrative Court (Regeringsrätten)Stora Billerud (Sweden); RÅ 1997 ref 38
16 June 1997
ENGStanding for individuals (art 2 para 5 and art 9)
SwedenSupreme Administrative Court (Regeringsrätten)Great crested newt (Sweden); RÅ 2005 ref 44
8 February 2005
ENGThe public interest and the scope of environmental impact assessment (art 2 para 5 and art 9)
SwedenSupreme Administrative Court and Stockholm Administrative Court of AppealThe Kynna wolf case
15 July 2012
ENGENGO standing (art 2, para 5, and art 9, paras. 2-4)
SwedenSupreme Administrative CourtÄnok; HFD 2014:8
14 February 2014

ENG
ENGO standing (art 2, para 5; art 6, para 1; and art 9, paras. 3-4)
SwedenLand and Environmental Court of AppealSimrishamn;  MÖD 2015:8
5 March 2015

ENG
ENGO standing (art 2, para 5, and art 9, paras. 3-4)

Sweden
Land and Environmental Court of AppealPublic Support;  MÖD 2015-04-15 in case No 8662-14
15 April 2015
ENGCriteria for ENGO standing (art 2, para 5, and art 9, paras. 3-4)
SwedenLand and Environmental Court of AppealCase 16:13 MB (Environmental Code)
15 November 2012
ENGCriteria for ENG standing (art 2, para 5, and art 9, paras. 2-4)
SwedenSupreme CourtTaggen Windfarm case
18 December 2012
ENGCriteria for ENG standing (art 2, para 5, and art 9, paras. 2-4)
SwedenSupreme Administrative CourtCase re Appeal Ban of Hunting Decisions
18 December 2015
ENGAppeals ban on hunting decisions and access to justice (at 2, para 5, art. 9, paras. 3-4)
SwitzerlandFederal Supreme CourtBirdLife Appeal
17 April 2015

ENGAppeal pn hunting decision and access to justice (art. 2, para. 5, art. 9, paras. 3)

T

CountryCourt
Case
Summary
Issue
TajikistanHudjand Municipal CourtCase re access to information (2-583)
21 April 2011
 
ENG
RUS
Access to information (art 2, para. 3, and art. 4, para 4)

U

CountryCourt
Case
Summary
Issue
UkraineKyiv Adm Court of AppealNGOs v.  Ministry of Education and Science
30 June 2010

ENG
RUS

Omission by a public authority (art 3, para 3, and art 9)
UkraineKyiv Adm Court of AppealELP v the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine
22 November 2012
ENG
RUS
Publishing the state environmental expertiza conclusions 
United KingdomHigh CourtENGPublic participation (art 6), costs and remedies (art 9 para 4)
United KingdomCourt of AppealENGProhibitive costs (art 9 para 4)
United KingdomCourt of AppealENGProhibitive costs (art 9 para 4)
United KingdomCourt of AppealENGProhibitive costs (art 9 para 4)
United KingdomCourt of AppealENGProhibitive costs (art 9 para 4)
United KingdomCourt of AppealENGProhibitive costs (art 9 para 4)
United KingdomHigh Court and Court of AppealENGProhibitive costs (art 9 para 4)
United KingdomHigh Court
R (on the application of McCaw) v City of Westminster Magistrate’s Court [2008] (judgment not available)
ENGProhibitive costs (art 9 para 4)
United KingdomCourt of AppealCompton v Wiltshire Primary Care Trust
1 July 2008
ENGCosts (art 9 para 4)
United KingdomCourt of SessionOpinion of Lady Dorrian in the Petition of Marco McGinty and Another for Judicial Review
20 January 2010
ENGCosts (art 9 para 4)

United Kingdom,
European Union

 

UK Supreme Court, Court of Justice EUAmbient Air Quality case

Supreme Court – 1 May 2013 (reference for preliminary ruling) and 29 April 2015  (final judgment)

CJEU (Reference for a preliminary ruling in C-404/13)– 19 November 2014
ENGENGO standing in cases relating to air protection (art 2, para 5, and art 9, paras 2-4)
United KingdomHigh Court of JusticeRSPB, Friends of the Earth & Client Earth v. Secretary of State for Justice
15 September 2017
ENGCosts (art 9 para 4)

EU

Court
Case
Summary
Issue
European UnionCourt of First Instance
Case T-264/04 (EN)
WWF European Policy Program v Council
25 April 2007
ENGAccess to information (art. 2, para 3)
European UnionCourt of First Instance,  Court of JusticeCase T-91/07 (EN) and C-355/08 P (EN)
WWF-UK Ltd v Council of the European Union
ENGNGO standing before the Court of First Instance and the Court of Justice (art. 2, para. 5, and art. 9, para. 3)
European UnionCourt of Justice
Case C-427/07 (EN)
Commission of the European Communities v Ireland
16 July 2009
ENGPublic and public concerned (art 2, paras. 4 and 5), public participation (art. 6, para. 1 (b)), access to justice (art. 9, paras. 2, 4 and 5)
European UnionCourt of Justice
Case C-263/08 (EN / SV)
DLV v Stockholms kommun
(Reference for a preliminary ruling from the Högsta domstolen -Sweden)
15 October 2009
ENGAccess to justice (art. 9, para. 2), public participation (art. 6, para 1(a), public concerned (art 2, paras. 4 and 5), NGO standing (art. 2, para. 5, and art. 9, para. 2)
European UnionCourt of Justice

Case C-115/09 (EN / DE)
Trianel
(Reference for a preliminary ruling: l’Oberverwaltungsgericht für das Land Nordrhein-Westfalen - Germany)
12 May 2011

ENGAccess to justice (art. 9 paras. 2-4), NGO standing (art. 2, para.5; art. 9, para. 2), public participation (art. 6)
European UnionCourt of JusticeCase C-240/09 (EN / SK)
LZ VLK v Ministry of Environment of Slovakia
(Reference for a preliminary ruling: Najvyšší súd Slovenskej republiky - Slovakia)
8 March 2011
ENGPublic participation (art 3, para. 1; art. 6, para 1), access to justice (art. 9, para. 3)
European UnionCourt of JusticeCase C-260/11 (EN)
Edwards/Pallikaropoulos
(Reference for a preliminary ruling:
Edwards/Pallikaropoulos v Environment Agency)
11 April 2011
ENGProhibitive costs (art. 9, para. 4)
European UnionCourt of Justice

Case C-416/10 (EN/SL)
Križan and Others v Slovenská inšpekcia
(Reference for a preliminary ruling: Najvyšší súd - Slovenia)
15 January 2013

ENGEffective remedies (art. 2, paras. 3 and 5; Art. 4, paras. 1, 3(d) and (e); Art. 6; Art. 9, paras. 1, 2 and 4)
European UnionCourt of JusticeCase C-72/12 (EN), Gemeinde Altrip and others v. Land Rheinland-Pfalz (European Union), ENG
European UnionCourt of Justice1) Joined cases C-401/12 P, C-402/12 P and C-403/12 P (Vereniging Milieudefensie and Stichting Stop Luchtverontreiniging Utrecht.);
2) Joined cases C-404/12 P and C-405/12 P (Stichting Natuur en Milieu and Pesticide Action Network Europe)
13 January 2015
ENGStanding of private parties(art. 9, para. 3)
European UnionCourt of JusticeCase C-279/12 (EN)
FishLegal, Emily Shirley v Information Commissioner
(Reference for a preliminary ruling - Upper-Tribunal, United Kingdom)
19 December 2013
ENGAccess to information, scope, concept of public authorities (art. 2, para. 2, and art. 4, para. 1)
European UnionCourt of JusticeCase C-71/14 (EN)
East Sussex County Council v Information Commissioner
(Reference for a preliminary ruling - First-Tier Tribunal, United Kingdom)
6 October 2015
ENGCharges for supplying environmental information (art. 4, para. 1 and 8, art. 9, para. 1.)
European UnionCourt of JusticeC-612/13 P (EN)
ClientEarth v European Commission
16 July 2015
ENGAccess to information, grounds for refusal - investigation (art. 4, paras. 1 and 4, and art. 9, paras. 1 and 4 )
European UnionCourt of JusticeC-106/14 (EN/FR)
FCD and FMB v Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy of France
(Reference for a preliminary ruling - the Conseil d'état, France)
10 September 2015
ENGAccess to product information (art. 5, paras. 1, 6, 8 and 9)
European UnionCourt of JusticeC-615/13 P (EN)
ClientEarth and PAN Europe v EFSA
16 July 2015
ENGAccess to information, concept of personal data and its disclosure
(art.  4, paras. 1 and 4 (f))
European UnionCourt of JusticeC-137/14 (EN/DE)
European Commission v Germany
15 October 2015
ENGAccess to justice, standing of ENGOs and the scope of review (art. 9, paras. 2 and 3)
European UnionCourt of JusticeC-243/15 (EN/SK)
LZ VLK v Obvodny Urad Trencin
(Reference for a preliminary ruling: Najvyšší súd Slovenskej republiky - Slovakia)
8 November 2016
ENGStanding of NGOs; decision-making on activities not listed in Annex 1 (art. 2, para. 5, art. 6, art. 9, paras. 2 and 3)

Disclaimer: The presence of summaries submitted by national focal points and other stakeholders on this web site does not imply endorsement of their content by the UNECE.