Aarhus: CJEU rules against UK costs regime

I have previously reported on same – and have reblogged earlier reporting by UK HR blog. Happy to do so again. Aarhus teeth have real bite! Geert.

UK Human Rights Blog

F_AarhusConventionCommission v. UK, judgment of CJEU, 13 February 2014  – read judgment

Litigation costs are troublesome, but they are particularly difficult in environmental cases where the claimant is not necessarily pursuing his private interests. This case is the result of a long-running and successful campaign by NGOs to persuade the EU Commission to investigate UK environmental legal costs. The main finding may not bother the UK too much, because wisely it saw this one coming and changed costs rules in environmental public law cases. But a subsidiary ruling about cross-undertakings as to damages will cause the courts, if not the Government, to rethink things. 

All of this comes from Article 9 of the Aarhus Convention (to which the EU has subscribed) which says that members of the public should be able to challenge environmental decisions, and the procedures for doing so shall be adequate and effective and “not prohibitively expensive”.

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