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Public Interest Litigation in Environmental Matters: A German Perspective

Dora Schaffrin and Michael Mehling

elni Review 2007, Issue 2,  pp. 13-19. https://doi.org/10.46850/elni.2007.011

Environmental protection has invariably become one of the central challenges facing modern societies and, by extension, their respective states. Constitutionally endowed with judicial powers, states also have a mandate to guarantee the rights and duties arising from legislation on the environment, including, if necessary, their enforcement. In the process, public interest litigation in environmental matters has acquired growing importance as one important means of achieving this objective.
By describing the legal framework for public interest litigation, this article seeks to shed light on an important channel of environmental protection in Germany, whose role in countering environmental pollution and other forms of damage to public goods prior to serious and irreversible deterioration has been consistently on the rise. Against this background, the aim of the article is to provide an introduction to German experiences with public interest litigation in environmental matters, both with a view to its success to date and also to more critical aspects.

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