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Domestic court Emissions reductions Poland Right to a healthy environment

Stasiak, Górska, Nowakowski and others v. Poland

Summary:
In June 2021, the NGO ClientEarth announced that it was supporting five Polish citizens in bringing actions against the Polish government, contesting reliance on coal and the failure to take action to reduce carbon emissions. The claimants are arguing that they have a right to live in a healthy environment, and that this right is under threat due to the Polish government’s inaction when it comes to reducing emissions. They submit that they have suffered the effects of droughts, wildfires, flooding and crop failures on their lives and property due to climate change, and that these effects will continue to worsen.

ClientEarth is representing the claimants under Polish civil law that permits individuals to delegate environmental litigation to NGOs. Their cases are based on Polish personal rights (or “personal goods”) under the Polish Civil Code, including the rights to life, health and property, and Articles 2 and 8 ECHR (the rights to life and to private and family life, respectively).

Date of filing:
2021

Admissibility:
TBD

Merits:
TBD

Remedies:
TBD

Suggested case citation:
N/A

More information:
For more information on the case, click here.

To read the legal briefing provided by Client Earth, click here.

Categories
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Duarte Agostinho et al. v. Austria et al.

Summary:
This case was brought by a group of six young people, acting together as the ‘Youth for Climate Justice’, against 33 Council of Europe Member States. Theirs is the first climate case to come before the ECtHR. In their application, the six applicants, who are aged between 8 and 21, argue that the 33 respondent States have failed to comply with their positive obligations under Articles 2 and 8 of the Convention, read in the light of the commitments made under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. They claim that their right to life (Art. 2 ECHR) is being threatened by the effects of climate change in their home State of Portugal, including through the harms caused by forest fires. Moreover, they claim that their right to respect for their private and family life under Art. 8 ECHR is being threatened by heatwaves that force them to spend more time indoors. They also note their anxiety about their uncertain future, and the fact that, as young people, they stand to experience the worst effects of climate change. They accordingly allege a violation of Article 14 ECHR (non-discrimination), given the particular impacts of climate change on their generation. According to the applicants, the absence of adequate measures to limit global emissions constitutes, in itself, a breach of the obligations incumbent on States.

This is the first climate application brought before the European Court of Human Rights, and it was brought with the support of the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN). The issues raised here are novel in the Strasbourg context. In addition, in communicating the case, the Court also proprio motu raised an issue under Article 3 ECHR, the prohibition of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment.

Domestic proceedings:
None, this case was brought directly to the ECtHR. The applicants submit that, given the complexity of the case and their limited financial means, requiring them to exhaust the domestic remedies in each of the 33 respondent States would impose an excessive and disproportionate burden on them.

Admissibility:
Pending

Merits:
Pending

Remedies:
Pending

Separate opinions:
Pending

Implementation measures taken:
N/A

Date:
Pending

Type of Forum:
Regional

Status of case:
Communicated by the Court on 30 November 2020

Suggested case citation:
ECtHR, Duarte Agostinho and Others v. Portugal and 32 Other Member States, no. 39371/20, Communicated Case, 30 November 2020

Links:

For more information on the case, see the following links.

  • For more background on the case and profiles on the applicants, click here: https://youth4climatejustice.org/
  • For the original application for as submitted to the Court, click here
  • To see all of the third party interventions filed in the case to date (eight in total), click here.
  • To read the observations of the 33 respondent states in this case, click here.