Chamber wants investigation: on behalf of whom do environmental clubs speak in court?

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Climate protest in The Hague
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A majority of the House of Representatives wants the court to impose additional requirements on interest groups that start lawsuits against the state. The reason is the various lawsuits against the cabinet about climate and nitrogen policy.

“Climate policy is a matter for politicians and not for the courts,” says SGP Member of Parliament Stoffer, the initiator. The SGP cites Urgenda and Mobilization for the Environment as examples. The party thinks it is “unhealthy” if “activist, subsidized organizations” can use lawsuits to stop the construction of houses and “flatten” companies employing thousands of people.

The SGP motion was co-sponsored by BBB and JA21. The PVV, FvD, Groep Van Haga and Member of Parliament Omtzigt were also in favour. The motion received a majority because the government parties VVD and CDA also voted in favour. Together, the pro-voters account for 81 of the 150 seats.

paying members

The parties want to know whether additional requirements can be imposed on interest groups that invoke the article of law with which they claim to speak on behalf of all Dutch people or a large group of Dutch people. A requirement should be that they have a large group of paying members. The court should also take into account whether those members are the direct stakeholders in such a lawsuit. The judge should test this before starting such a case.

The VVD thinks it is logical to see whether the ‘representativeness’ is checked strictly enough. “Procedures like these affect us all,” says Member of Parliament Ellian. A few years ago, Van Haga wondered where the Dutch could report who disagree with Urgenda. He spoke of “an anti-democratic effect”.

Parties such as PvdA, GroenLinks, D66 and Volt strongly oppose the SGP motion. In the earlier climate debate, they used words like “shocking” and “unacceptable”. How many member organizations speak on behalf of is irrelevant, the Party for the Animals said.

“They stand up for the public interest and have seen that the State does not comply with international treaties,” said MP Teunissen. And GroenLinks MP Kröger: “If the SGP shrugs that off, the party may never again call itself a constitutional conscience.”

The SP also said today that it would vote against with reasons:

Chamber wants investigation: on behalf of whom do interest groups speak in court?

The Urgenda case was years ago, but it still serves as an inspiration for other interest groups. They submit requirements to the court to enforce political policy that they believe is in the interest of the group of people, sometimes all Dutch people, whom they say they represent.

Lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops successfully went to court for Refugee Work last year and said in advance that the case had a chance of success. Knoops: “In recent years, the judge has more often shown itself to be proactive in policy choices, for example in the retrieval of IS women or the Urgenda case about reducing CO2 emissions.”

Lawyer Bondine Kloostra, who specializes in environmental and nature conservation law, sent the cabinet a demand last week about nitrogen on behalf of Greenpeace. “There is unlawful negligence or unlawful act on the part of the State,” she says. The organization will go to court if the cabinet does not take nitrogen measures within two weeks.

  • Greenpeace takes EU administration to court for ‘greenwashing’ with energy list
  • Refugee work summons state: ‘Reception must comply with law on October 1’
  • Politics

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