On 25 March 2021, a yet-uncommunicated application was filed before the European Court of Human Rights concerning the impact of climate change (specifically, temperature increases) on an applicant suffering from temperature-sensitive multiple sclerosis and Uhthoff’s syndrome. The applicant alleges a violation of his rights under Article 8 ECHR by the failure by the Austrian government to set effective greenhouse gas emissions reduction measures.
The applicant alleged in particular that, at temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius, he is no longer able to walk, and that above 30 degrees Celsius, he loses complete control over his muscular movement. The applicant alleged that, by failing to sufficiently reduce its emissions to meet the goals set out in the Paris Agreement, the respondent State had not only made it impossible to meet the 1,5 degree Celsius warming target set out therein, but had even actively taken measures to exacerbate the climate crisis, including through subsidies and incentives. The applicant also alleged that the domestic State’s legal system systemically impeded him from challenging the climate policies at stake, and the government’s inaction in this regard. This, he submitted, reflects a systemic deficit in the domestic legal system, making it impossible to challenge inaction by the State.
He invoked the right to respect for private and family life in Article 8 ECHR, and subsidiarily the right to life in Article 2 ECHR, as well as the rights to access to a remedy and fair trial in Articles 13 and 6 ECHR.
This case has not yet been communicated by the Court at the time of writing. It had been announced, however, that the case has been adjourned pending the outcome of Grand Chamber proceedings in three other climate cases (see the following section). More information on the case will be published as it becomes available.
Status of case:
Adjourned until the Grand Chamber has ruled in the climate change cases pending before it (see the ECtHR’s press release here).
Suggested case citation:
ECtHR, Mex Müllner v. Austria, application no. 18859/21, filed on 25 March 2021 (not yet communicated).
For the last-instance domestic judgment in this case, see here: https://www.vfgh.gv.at/downloads/VfGH_Beschluss_G_144_2020_vom_30._September_2020.pdf
For the full text of the application to the Court, see here: https://www.michaelakroemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/rechtsanwaeltin-michaela-kroemer-klimaklage-petition.pdf
For more information on the case from Fridays for Future Austria, see here.
For a statement from the applicant’s lawyer, Michaela Kroemer, see here.
16 March 2023.