« tillbaka

Legitimacy of judicial lawmaking in public interest litigation cases (PIL) in Europe and beyond

den 26 februari 2024, kl. 14:00 till 15:30

At this seminar Professor Rob van Gestel is going to introduce his new research project that concerns the legitimacy of judicial lawmaking in public interest litigation cases (PIL). The project is funded by the national research foundation of the Netherlands.

What can be seen in different EU member states, but also beyond the EU is that citizens and NGOs that do not feel heard, instead of lobbying legislators, increasingly turn to the courts when, for example, fundamental rights are being threatened and the public interest disregarded. A prominent example that raised a lot of debate in The Netherlands, is the Urgenda climate change case in which the Supreme Court ordered the Dutch government to reduce greenhouse gas emission in 2020 by 25% compared to 1990. This case has led to a lot of debate regarding violation of the separation of powers doctrine. However, we seem to see more and more of these cases arising throughout Europe. One of the reasons there has been so much debate about them might have to do with the fact that both the CJEU and ECtHR have not been able to take a leading role in how national courts should deal with the alleged violation of fundamental rights in PIL-cases because NGOs have very limited access to these courts when they want to bring cases in the public interest. An important reason for this seems to be that there is a fear that NGOs are going to act as “private attorney generals” taking on national governments and perhaps even EU institutions, which might cause a floodgate of new cases and judicialize politics. The question is, though, whether this fear is not based on a somewhat outdated concept of (national) democracy, which still relies heavily on the primacy of parliament. In newer democracies, such as South Africa and India, PIL seems to be a more accepted countervailing force to the political branches of government. How is this possible and is there a future for PIL at the level of the CJEU and ECtHR?

Rob van Gestel is Professor of Law at Tilburg Law School, Department of Private, Business and Labour and member of the Research Group for Methodology of Law and Legal Research.

Location: Stockholm University, Universitetsvägen 10, C building, 8th floor, Faculty room.

Coffee and sandwiches will be served to registered participants. Please register by February 21st at the latest.


Antonina Bakardjieva Engelbrekt and Björn Lundqvist

Detta seminarium ägde rum den den 26 februari 2024