International Environmental Law

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Did the Court in Klimaseniorinnen create an actio popularis?

Perhaps the thorniest issue that the European Court had to address in Klimaseniorinnen was how to square the prohibition on actio popularis with the granting of standing to the applicant association, but not to the individual applicants. How can the four individual applicants lack victim status, as the Court held, yet the association, of which the applicants were members, had standing and won the case on the merits? The association, the Court held, was not pursuing a complaint regarding its own rights, but was simply representing individuals whose interests are affected by climate change. The Court’s approach, on its face, appears paradoxical. If there was a violation of article 8 ECHR, as the Court accepted, then who is the victim? If the victims included the members of the association, on whose behalf the association brought the claim, then why do they lack victim status? The result would not, of course, be paradoxical if the Court had openly abandoned the prohibition on actio popularis and accepted that it is creating a ‘public interest litigation’ exemption…

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On Whose Authority? Freedom of Navigation and Protests in the 2023 NORI-D Area Incident

Introduction The activities of Greenpeace vessels have a habit of triggering the further illumination and development of international law. Greenpeace’s “Stop Deep Sea Mining” campaign is no exception. It effectively raises questions on the scope of Greenpeace’s individual right to protest (international human rights law) and the scope of the Netherland’s flag State right to…

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Reflections on the Strasbourg climate rulings in light of two aims behind the Duarte Agostinho case

Two aims, among others, motivated the decision to bring the Duarte Agostinho climate case (“Duarte”) directly to the European Court of Human Rights against multiple Respondent States. They were, first, to invite the Court to interpret States’ obligations in respect of climate change in a manner capable of protecting those in the most vulnerable parts…

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Priorities for Climate Litigation at the European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights’ judgments in KlimaSeniorinnen v Switzerland, Carême v France, and Duarte Agostinho v Portugal and others confirmed that climate litigation in the European human rights system is difficult (general analysis of the judgments here and here). The reasons were…

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Climate or carbon neutrality? Which one must states aim for under Article 8 ECHR?

In its judgment in Verein KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz and Others v. Switzerland, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) Grand Chamber ruled that Switzerland had acted insufficiently on climate change mitigation. This placed the Swiss senior women applicants at risk of climate harm, particularly from heatstroke, and breached their Article 8 rights to home and family…

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