The Role of NGOs in Environmental Litigation against Public Authorities: Some Observations on Judicial Review and Access to Court in the Netherlands

Jan H. Jans*, Albert T. Marseille

*Corresponding author for this work

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    4 Citations (Scopus)


    With the adoption of the Aarhus Convention, the rights of environmental organisations have been firmly anchored in national, international and European law. However, in the Netherlands, the position of environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to bring cases to a court of law is under threat. This made us wonder what the effects are of judicial procedures brought by environmental NGOs. After a short introduction setting the legal scenery for NGOs to challenge environmental licences/permits, this article will in particular focus on the de facto use of judicial review procedures by NGOs. Our research shows that NGOs are successful litigants. First, their appeals are well-founded more often than the appeals of other appellants. Secondly, if the Council of State rules the appeal of an NGO well-founded, relatively often (and contrary to other appellants), it determines substantive failures in the contested decision.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)373-390
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournal of Environmental Law
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • access to justice
    • judicial review
    • environmental litigation
    • NGOs
    • Netherlands

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