The relationship of the Public Interest and the Court of Justice, less subject to change than the climate

Edinburgh Europa Research Group Seminar 


Matthijs van Wolferen, University of Groningen

Friday 13 April 2018

12:00-13:00 – Conference Room 2.15, Chrystal Macmillan Building


Following the conclusion of the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee (ACCC) that the EU is non-compliant with the Aarhus Convention, pertaining to access to justice, the presentation investigates the difficulties that the EU has with the concept of public interest litigation (PIL). Although NGOs have a place at the table in Brussels, the situation in Luxemburg is decidedly different. Matthijs presents his work on the relationship between the public interest and the European judicial system. Even where the European legal order has come into maturity as a fully-fledged constitutional system, the judicial order has not been given the space it needs to mirror that development. In the age of rights, the primary judicial body does not have the interpretative space to emancipate itself from the system of judicial review built for the economically derived fundamental freedoms. Environmental law is only indicative of this problem. There is an increasing call for the EU to become more active regarding Social and Labour policies, foreshadowing more problems. As the EU is formulating a response to the ACCC, the presentation addresses the issue of whether PIL a place in Luxembourg, or whether the very nature of the EU precludes this.

The event is open to all. For Further information about the seminar details, please send an email  to

We look forward to seeing you!

Cleo Davies, Richard Maturana TepperMihail Vatsov, co-convenors of the Europa Research Group 


The Europa Research Group Seminar series is supported by the Edinburgh Europa Institute.