To Justifie the Wayes of God to Men: Limits to the court's powers of interpretation

Marinus Johan van Wolferen


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    It has long been claimed in academic discussion that it should be possible for public interest organizations to initiate legal proceedings directly at an EU level. However, so it is argued, the only actor standing in the way of this development is the Court of Justice of the EU, as it has since 1963 interpreted EU law in such a way that it is in essence impossible for the public interest to defend itself before the Court. This presupposes a complete freedom for a court to determine which parties are able to address it. This complete freedom is however illogical, as the concept of standing, which is at issue here, is an important nexus in every legal order where historical and cultural developments meet. This PhD thesis attempts to provide insight into which factors actually limit a court, specifically the EU’s court, in interpreting standing requirements. By building on the work of Professor Feldman, the thesis argues that in the development of the European Economic Community into the European Union, it has always been an explicit choice by all parties involved to make it impossible for the Court to grant public interest organizations standing. However, I argue that when the Court sees and opportunity, when the Aarhus Convention and the Treaty of Lisbon enter into force, it uses these changed circumstances to give the public interest a chance. Not via a direct route, but by requiring Member States to make access to national courts as easy as possible.
    Originele taal-2English
    KwalificatieDoctor of Philosophy
    Toekennende instantie
    • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
    • Gormley, Laurence, Supervisor
    • Squintani, Lorenzo, Co-supervisor
    Datum van toekenning1-nov.-2018
    Plaats van publicatie[Groningen]
    Gedrukte ISBN's978-94-034-1068-5
    Elektronische ISBN's978-94-034-1067-8
    StatusPublished - 2018

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