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Training package on National Judges and the EU Aarhus Acquis - Focus on Access to Justice

Module 4: Access to Justice

Access to Justice in the EU law landscape: Member State level - Effective Remedies

The role of the national judge is not limited to determining whether a particular decision, act or omission was lawful but also covers also the decision on effective remedies - sometimes referred to as reliefs - where the conduct of the public authority is found to have been contrary to EU law. In this context, there is a general requirement on every body of a Member State to nullify the unlawful consequences of a breach of EU environmental law. The detailed procedural rules applicable to effective remedies are a matter for the domestic legal order of each Member State, under the principle of the procedural autonomy of the Member States. However, Member States’ discretion should be in line with the principles of equivalence and effectiveness.

Moreover, in cases of minor procedural mistakes, there is no obligation for effective remedies, provide it can be established that they did not have an impact on the contested decision of the public authority. In case national courts find that authorization, regulatory act or national legislation contravene EU environmental law, an order to suspend, revoke of annul the contested decision or act will be appropriate.

Finally, a national court dealing with a dispute governed by EU environmental law must be in a position to order interim measures as well as to award compensation for pecuniary damages, provided the three conditions for state liability are met. (More information: Case C-420/11 Leth, paras: 36-46.)

For the presentation on "Effective remedies" see the video podcast of Christina Olsen Lundh:


Developed by the Academy of European Law (ERA)