Public Interest Litigation in the Netherlands – A Multidimensional Take on the Promotion of Environmental Interests by Private Parties Through the Courts

14 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2014

See all articles by Berthy van den Broek

Berthy van den Broek

Utrecht University - Centre for Environmental Law and Policy; Utrecht University - School of Law

Liesbeth F.H. Enneking

Erasmus School of Law; Utrecht University - Utrecht Centre for Accountability and Liability Law

Date Written: June 30, 2014

Abstract

In the Netherlands, the administrative law system is traditionally seen as best suited for dealing with public interest-related lawsuits. Especially in the field of environmental law, NGOs seeking to promote broader environmental interests regularly initiate judicial procedures before administrative courts in order to challenge land-use plans, environmental permits and other types of public orders that may have adverse impacts on local natural habitats and/or the environment more generally. However, over the past five years a number of developments have resulted in a more restricted access to administrative courts for environmental NGOs. It has been suggested that these developments may result in an increased reliance on public interest-related procedures before civil courts. This raises the question of what position public interest-related claims, like those against Shell for oil pollution in the Niger Delta and those against the Dutch government for its alleged failure to implement adequate climate change policies, currently have within the Dutch system of civil procedure. It also raises the question whether environmental NGOs in practice do have the broad access to Dutch courts that is required by international obligations, and whether room for improvement should perhaps be sought in the civil law domain.

Keywords: public interest litigation, environmental interests, Dutch civil procedure, Dutch administrative procedure, judicial activism, active citizenship

Suggested Citation

van den Broek, Berthy and Enneking, Liesbeth, Public Interest Litigation in the Netherlands – A Multidimensional Take on the Promotion of Environmental Interests by Private Parties Through the Courts (June 30, 2014). Utrecht Law Review, Vol. 10, No. 3, p. 77-90, June 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2465827

Berthy Van den Broek (Contact Author)

Utrecht University - Centre for Environmental Law and Policy ( email )

Domplein 29
Utrecht, 3512
Netherlands

Utrecht University - School of Law ( email )

3508 TC Utrecht
Utrecht
Netherlands

Liesbeth Enneking

Erasmus School of Law ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Utrecht University - Utrecht Centre for Accountability and Liability Law ( email )

Janskerkhof 12
Utrecht, 3512 BL
Netherlands
+31302537196 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uu.nl/leg/staff/LFHEnneking/0

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