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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 or Russian) 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]un.org).
The jurisprudence has been included in the Aarhus Clearingshouse for Environmental Democracy.
A

 

Country Court
 Case
Summary
Issue
Armenia General Jurisdiction Court of First Instance of Syunik Region
22 residents of the Kapan city v. Armenian Sewerage Compan
24 March 2011
ENG Access to justice
(art 9 para 3)
Armenia Cassation Court Teghout mine case
30 October 2009 and
1 April 2011
ENG NGOs standing (art 2, paras 4 and 5, art 9, paras 2 and 3)
Armenia Constitutional Court Decision of the Constitutional Court of Armenia N906
9 July 2010
ENG NGOs standing (art 2, paras 4 and 5, art 9, paras 2 and 3)
Armenia Administrative Court of Armenia Dolphynarium case
10 April 2012
ENG NGOs standing (art 2, paras 4 and 5, art 9, paras 2 and 3)
B

 

Country Court
Case
Summary
Issue
Belgium Constitutional Court
d'Arripe c.s. v Valloon Region (fr, nl, de)
14 September 2006
ENG Public participation, access to justice, plans and programmes (art. 7)
Belgium Constitutional Court
Inter-Environment Wallonie v Walloon Region (fr, nl, de)
14 September 2006
ENG Public participation, plans and programmes (art. 7)
Belgium Constitutional Court
Lenaerts c.s v 's Heerenbosch (fr, nl, de)
26 April 2007
ENG Access to justice (art. 9, para. 3)
Belgium Council of State ENG Access to environmental information (art. 4, paras. 1, 3, 4 and 6)
Belgium Council of State ENG NGO standing (art. 2, para. 5, and art. 9, para. 5)
Belgium Council of State Boxus and W. Roua
27 March 2009
ENG Public participation, access to justice and projects (art. 2, para. 2, and art. 9, para. 2)
Belgium Constitutional Court
Solvay c.s. v. Walloon Region (fr, nl, de
22 November 2012
ENG Public participation, access to justice and projects (art. 2, para. 2, art. 3, para. 9, art. 6, para. 9, and art 9, paras. 2-4)
Belgium Council of State IMMO Dominique
18 December 2012
ENG Access to justice and environmental permitting (art. 2, para. 2, art. 3, para. 9, art. 6, para. 8, and art. 9, para. 2 and 4)
Belgium Supreme court PP and PSLV v. Gewestelijk Stedenbouwkundig Inspecteur and M vzw
11 June 2013
ENG Standing of environmental NGO in a criminal case (art. 2, para. 4, art. 3, para. 4, and art. 9, para. 3)
Belgium Constitutional Court Lauwers c.s., vzw Ademloos c.s., G. Bergmans c.s. and M. Van Damme v. Flemish Government 23 January 2014 ENG

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

Belgium Court of Appeal, Ghent CITES Crime case
7 May 2015
ENG Rights of ENGO in criminal proceedings (art. 9, paras. 3 and 4)
Belgium Constitutional Court Case Vogelbescherming Vlaanderen and Terre wallonne (fr, nl. de)
21 January 2016
ENG The right of environmental NGOs to claim moral damages (art. 9, paras. 3 and 4)
Belgium Court of First Instance, Brussels Greenpeace vs Flemish Region
10 October 2018
ENG The right of environmental NGO to claim court orders with regard to air quality (art. 9, paras. 3 and 4)
Belgium Court of First Instance, Brussels Climate Change case
24 June 2021
ENG The right of environmental NGO and other public to challenge climate change policies (art. 9, para. 3)
Belgium Constitutional Court Urban Planning Permit case (NL/FR)
17 June 2021
ENG The right of a company with a purely commercial interest to file an appeal (art. 9, paras. 2 and 3)
Bulgaria Supreme Administrative Court  Air Quality Plans cases
(multiple)
ENG The right to challenge air quality plans (art. 9, paras. 3)
F

 

Country Court
Case
Summary
Issue
France Conseil d'Etat

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

ENG Access to environmental information (art 4)
G

 

Country Court
Case
Summary
Issue
Germany Oberwaltungsgericht Schleswig ENG Access to justice (art 9, paras. 2 and 5)
Germany Bundesverwaltungsgericht Darmstadt case, BVerwG 7 C 21.12 ENG Access to justice (art 9, para 3) and Definitions )art 2, para. 5)
H

 

Country Court
Case
Summary
Issue
Hungary Supreme Court
Tubes Hill Case
17 March 2010
ENG Access to information and public participation in activity serving national defence purposes (art. 4. art. 6, paras. 2 and 3 and art. 9, para. 2)
Hungary Administrative and Labour Court, Pecs City Case re permitting waste management site
21 June 2018
ENG Appeal by the members of the public that have not been informed about the decision (art. 6 and art 9, para. 2)
I

 

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

 

Country Court
 Case
Summary
Issue
Latvia Constitutional 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
ENG Access to environmental information, access to justice, public participation (art 2, art 4, art 6, art 7, art 9)
Latvia Constitutional 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
ENG Public participation, access to environmental information (art 4,
art 7, art 9 para 2)
Latvia Constitutional 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
ENG Access to environmental information, access to justice, public participation (art 2, art 4, art 6, art 7, art 9)
Latvia Constitutional 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’
ENG Access to environmental information, access to justice, public participation (art 3 para 2, art 4, art 6 (annex I para 5) art 9)
Latvia Supreme Court Political 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)

Latvia Supreme Court Council of the City of Ventspils v. State Environmental Service’s Regional Environmental Board of the city of Ventspils  (SKA – 424/2012). ENG Public participation in decisions on specific activities (Article 6) and Access to Justice (Article 9)
Latvia Supreme Court Association "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) ENG Access to Justice (Article 9)
Lithuania Supreme Administrative Court A. Ž. and others v. Ministry of Environment and its Vilnius Regional Protection Department
2 December 2011
ENG Access to justice (art. 1, art. 2, para. 4 and art. 9, paras. 3 and 4)
Lithuania Supreme Administrative Court “Žvėryno bendruomenė” v. administration of Vilnius municipality
9 December 2010
ENG Public Participation and Access to Justice (art. 6 and art. 9, paras. 2 and 3)
Lithuania Supreme Court District Chief Prosecutor v. “Bitė Lietuva”
21 December 2011
ENG Public participation, plans and programmes(art. 7)
Lithuania Supreme Administrative Court
Case re the Curonian Spit national park management plan
28 September 2012
ENG Access to justice (art. 9)
Lithuania Supreme Court CSC “Saerimner”
16 January 2013
ENG Access to justice (art. 9, paras. 2 and 3)
R

 

Country Court
Case
Summary
Issue
Pepublic of Moldova Curtea de Apel Chisinau Case 3-2039/2008 (MD)
NGO "Eco-Tiras" v. Moldsilva
23 June 2008
ENG Access to environmental information (art. 2, paras. 2-4, art. 3 and 4), access to justice (art. 9, para. 1)
S

 

 
Country Court
Case
Summary
Key issue
Slovakia Regional Court in Bratislava Case re local air quality plan
13 November 2018
ENG Public participation in decision-making re  the local air quality plan (art. 2, para. 5, art. 7 and art. 9, para. 2)
Spain Tribunal Supremo
                            Asociación GECEN – Aeropuerto de Castellón
 25 June 2005
ENG NGO standing (art 2 para 5), access to justice (art 9)
Spain Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Canarias Port of Granadilla, (Decision on interim measures # 66/09)
15 June 2009
ENG Injunction (art 9, paras. 3 and 4)
Spain Supreme Court Dam of Itoiz case, STS 6202/2011
29September 2011

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

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

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

ENG
ENGO standing (art 2, para 5; art 6, para 1; and art 9, paras. 3-4)
Sweden Land and Environmental Court of Appeal Simrishamn;  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 Appeal Public Support;  MÖD 2015-04-15 in case No 8662-14
15 April 2015
ENG Criteria for ENGO standing (art 2, para 5, and art 9, paras. 3-4)
Sweden Land and Environmental Court of Appeal Case 16:13 MB (Environmental Code)
15 November 2012
ENG Criteria for ENG standing (art 2, para 5, and art 9, paras. 2-4)
Sweden Supreme Court Taggen Windfarm case
18 December 2012
ENG Criteria for ENG standing (art 2, para 5, and art 9, paras. 2-4)
Sweden Supreme Administrative Court Case re Appeal Ban of Hunting Decisions
18 December 2015
ENG Appeals ban of hunting decisions and access to justice (at 2, para 5, art. 9, paras. 3-4)
Switzerland Federal Supreme Court BirdLife Appeal
17 April 2015
 
ENG Appeal against hunting decision and access to justice (art. 2, para. 5, art. 9, para. 3)
Switzerland Federal Supreme Court Case re plant protection products
12 February 2018
ENG Access to review procedure as a party, standing and access to information (art. 4 and art. 9, para. 3) 
Switzerland Administrative Court of Canton of Berne Camping site case
8 December 2017
ENG

Appeal against a cantonal decision and access to justice (art. 2, para. 5, art. 9, para. 3)

T

 

Country Court
Case
Summary
Issue
Tajikistan Hudjand Municipal Court Case re access to information (2-583)
21 April 2011
 
ENG
RUS
Access to information (art 2, para. 3, and art. 4, para 4)
U

 

 
Country Court
Case
Summary
Issue
Ukraine Kyiv Adm Court of Appeal NGOs v.  Ministry of Education and Science
30 June 2010

ENG
RUS

Omission by a public authority (art 3, para 3, and art 9)
Ukraine Kyiv Adm Court of Appeal ELP v the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine
22 November 2012
ENG
RUS
Publishing the state environmental expertiza conclusions 
United Kingdom High Court ENG Public participation (art 6), costs and remedies (art 9 para 4)
United Kingdom Court of Appeal ENG Prohibitive costs (art 9 para 4)
United Kingdom Court of Appeal ENG Prohibitive costs (art 9 para 4)
United Kingdom Court of Appeal ENG Prohibitive costs (art 9 para 4)
United Kingdom Court of Appeal ENG Prohibitive costs (art 9 para 4)
United Kingdom Court of Appeal ENG Prohibitive costs (art 9 para 4)
United Kingdom High Court and Court of Appeal ENG Prohibitive costs (art 9 para 4)
United Kingdom High Court
R (on the application of McCaw) v City of Westminster Magistrate’s Court [2008] (judgment not available)
ENG Prohibitive costs (art 9 para 4)
United Kingdom Court of Appeal Compton v Wiltshire Primary Care Trust
1 July 2008
ENG Costs (art 9 para 4)
United Kingdom Court of Session Opinion of Lady Dorrian in the Petition of Marco McGinty and Another for Judicial Review
20 January 2010
ENG Costs (art 9 para 4)

United Kingdom,
European Union

 

UK Supreme Court, Court of Justice EU Ambient 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
ENG ENGO standing in cases relating to air protection (art 2, para 5, and art 9, paras 2-4)
United Kingdom High Court of Justice RSPB, Friends of the Earth & Client Earth v. Secretary of State for Justice
15 September 2017
ENG Costs (art 9 para 4)
United Kingdom Supreme Court Dover v CPRE
6 December 2017
ENG Duty to give reasons (Article 6, para. 9, and article 9, para. 4)
EU

 

  Court
Case
Summary
Issue
European Union Court of First Instance
Case T-264/04 (EN)
WWF European Policy Program v Council
25 April 2007
ENG Access to information (art. 2, para 3)
European Union Court of First Instance,  Court of Justice Case T-91/07 (EN) and C-355/08 P (EN)
WWF-UK Ltd v Council of the European Union
ENG NGO standing before the Court of First Instance and the Court of Justice (art. 2, para. 5, and art. 9, para. 3)
European Union Court of Justice
Case C-427/07 (EN)
Commission of the European Communities v Ireland
16 July 2009
ENG Public 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 Union Court 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
ENG Access 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 Union Court 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

ENG Access to justice (art. 9 paras. 2-4), NGO standing (art. 2, para.5; art. 9, para. 2), public participation (art. 6)
European Union Court of Justice Case 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
ENG Public participation (art 3, para. 1; art. 6, para 1), access to justice (art. 9, para. 3)
European Union Court of Justice Case C-260/11 (EN)
Edwards/Pallikaropoulos
(Reference for a preliminary ruling:
Edwards/Pallikaropoulos v Environment Agency)
11 April 2011
ENG Prohibitive costs (art. 9, para. 4)
European Union Court 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

ENG Effective 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 Union Court of Justice Case C-72/12 (EN), Gemeinde Altrip and others v. Land Rheinland-Pfalz (European Union),  ENG Standing (article 9, paras. 2 and 3)
European Union Court of Justice 1) 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
ENG Standing of private parties(art. 9, para. 3)
European Union Court of Justice Case C-279/12 (EN)
FishLegal, Emily Shirley v Information Commissioner
(Reference for a preliminary ruling - Upper-Tribunal, United Kingdom)
19 December 2013
ENG Access to information, scope, concept of public authorities (art. 2, para. 2, and art. 4, para. 1)
European Union Court of Justice Case C-71/14 (EN)
East Sussex County Council v Information Commissioner
(Reference for a preliminary ruling - First-Tier Tribunal, United Kingdom)
6 October 2015
ENG Charges for supplying environmental information (art. 4, para. 1 and 8, art. 9, para. 1.)
European Union Court of Justice C-612/13 P (EN)
ClientEarth v European Commission
16 July 2015
ENG Access to information, grounds for refusal - investigation (art. 4, paras. 1 and 4, and art. 9, paras. 1 and 4 )
European Union Court of Justice C-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
ENG Access to product information (art. 5, paras. 1, 6, 8 and 9)
European Union Court of Justice C-615/13 P (EN)
ClientEarth and PAN Europe v EFSA
16 July 2015
ENG Access to information, concept of personal data and its disclosure
(art.  4, paras. 1 and 4 (f))
European Union Court of Justice C-137/14 (EN/DE)
European Commission v Germany
15 October 2015
ENG Access to justice, standing of ENGOs and the scope of review (art. 9, paras. 2 and 3)
European Union Court of Justice C-243/15 (EN/SK)
LZ VLK v Obvodny Urad Trencin
(Reference for a preliminary ruling: Najvyšší súd Slovenskej republiky - Slovakia)
8 November 2016
ENG Standing of NGOs; decision-making on activities not listed in Annex 1 (art. 2, para. 5, art. 6, art. 9, paras. 2 and 3)
European Union Court of Justice C-529/15 (EN/DE)
Gert Folk
(Reference for a preliminary ruling: Administrative Court, Austria)
1 June 2017
ENG Standing, environmental damage (art. 2 paras. 4 and 5; art. 9, paras. 2 and 3) 
European Union Court of Justice C-664/15 (EN/DE)
Protect Umweltorganisation v Bezirkshauptmannschaft Gmünd
(Reference for a preliminary ruling: Verwaltungsgerichtshof, Austria)
20 December 2017
ENG Standing and effective remedies Art. 2 para. 4 and 5; Art. 6, para. 1 (b); Art. 9, paras. 2, 3, and 4
European Union Court of Justice C-167/17 (EN)
Klohn v An Bord Pleanala
(Reference for a preliminary ruling: Supreme Court of Ireland)
17 October 2018
ENG Requirement for a review procedure that is not prohibitively expensive (art. 9, para. 4)
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.
Last update date: July 9, 2021