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European justice?

Pat Swords sends me a link to this press release by the European Platform Against Windfarms, who have been suing the European Commission over its non-compliance with the Aarhus Convention. The Commission's response was to apply to the European Court of Justice to have the case thrown out on the grounds that the EPAW is not a legal person. The court has apparently now decided to accept the Commission's case without allowing EPAW to respond.

There is no doubt that this is remarkable, EPAW had no opportunity to reply to the arguments put forward against it, especially the main one, which is not based on fact: the European Commission having decided that EPAW was ‘a non-profit-making legal person registered in France’. However, when EPAW first formally approached the European Commission, on behalf of itself and other environmental NGOs, in requesting an Internal Review of the EU’s post 2020 renewable programme, it provided specific contact details in Scotland, which were to be used for this purpose.

Moreover, it seems that the court has previously accepted cases from organisations - including ones involved with violence - that have similar structures to EPAW. There appears to be a very strong suggestion that the court is bowing to the will of the Commission.

"European Court of Justice". There's a /sarc tag missing there I think.


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Reader Comments (29)

Further proof, as if it were needed, that there is no such thing as democracy where the EU - or its courts - are concerned.

I just wish Cameron and all the other career politicians would accept there is now an ineluctable case that the majority of the UK population wants out of this farcical - but hideously expensive - political experiment.

Jan 29, 2014 at 12:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterYertizz

The EU is one of the most corrupt organisations in the world, up there with the UN and Obama's administration.
The Law, Rules and Justice mean nothing to them, unless it coincides with their beliefs.

Jan 29, 2014 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterA C Osborn

Clearly, so far as Big Brussels is concerned, EPAW is an organisation of un-persons.

Jan 29, 2014 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterTallbloke

It does seem bizarre.

For one thing I was left wonder. If the Court ruled that the EPAW is not a "legal personality", how exactly can it order costs against it?

Jan 29, 2014 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Clearly a nonperson, in the Orwellian sense.

Jan 29, 2014 at 12:25 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Andrew I googled 'Greenpreach and the ECJ' and found a case concerning stem cell patents that has been *referred* from the German courts upon appeal but was not an action brought by Greenpreach itself at the ECJ.

Can you be specific about which cases have been successfully brought by pressure organisations similar to EPAW?

Jan 29, 2014 at 12:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

actually forget that I just read the link. Doh!

Jan 29, 2014 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

Don't get with the outrageous idea, that, the European Court is there to administer justice - ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Know this also, The European Court exists primarily to provide a veneer of legal justification for all of and to augment the EU Commission's dictatorial ambitions.

Jan 29, 2014 at 12:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

As long as the undemocratically appointed commissars have their huge salaries, their huge expense accounts and their huge gold-plated pensions, then we can be sure that we nonentities will be well taken care of.

Jan 29, 2014 at 1:24 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Welcome to EU democracy. So bad it's actually worse than what we've got (or *had*, that should be).

Jan 29, 2014 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered Commenterdepressing

More proof, if any were needed, that it is time to get out.


Jan 29, 2014 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

Similar to the case against free speech in the US by Mann, some courts seem a bit biased against anything that hinders or the AGW consensus, or holds AGW promoters to less than flattering light.

Jan 29, 2014 at 1:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

This question of whether an entity is a legal person can be very important. Make a note of it. An unincorporated charitable trust, for instance, is not. It has no reputation, cannot be defamed, cannot sue. The trustees can sue. They may be able to charge expenses to trust funds. But there is no legal person who can sue. And what's more, the trustees cannot sue on its behalf, since it does not exist.

If you go anywhere near any of this stuff, look up Beddoes first.

Even very expensive London solicitors can get this wrong.

Jan 29, 2014 at 1:32 PM | Unregistered Commentermichel

It is so tempting to just pile on about this alleged grave injustice which we discover in a press release by the losing side of the court case. Why bother linking to the case or even read the judgement when the injustice is so self evident? We have time for all 22 pages of a Stern letter but not enough for an 8-page judgement of the court.

Well, I read the case. And it seems to me the EPAW people haven't done their homework. They have failed to demonstrate that they are indeed an organisation with a fixed address and/or internal mechanism that grants its representatives authority to speak on EPAW's behalfIn other words, a few people putting their heads together and calling themselves XYZ Movement, ABC Platform and LNM Forum does not automatically a legal person make. This is a basic procedural matter from the Court's perspective, and I happen to agree with the Court's reasoning. No need to look for a political conspiracy behind the decision.

Jan 29, 2014 at 2:57 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

@ sHx

Who on earth cares about the bureaucratic rigmarole that you outlined and what difference would it make to the merits of the the EPAW case?

It is quite obvious that the European Court of "Justice" decided the verdict first and then invented a reason to justify its decision.

Jan 29, 2014 at 3:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

eugh - the /sarc tag - let's not

Jan 29, 2014 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterjaffa

Roy, I'm afraid you're wrong.
You may call it "bureaucratic rigmarole" but I'm sure you wouldn't hesitate to complain if you found yourself on the wrong end of a judgment in a case where the pursuer had no legal right to pursue in the first place. If as sHx says they have not been able to prove that they are legal entity then they have no existence in law.The EU have no need to defend the case; there isn't anyone there to defend it against!
My only question is how the Court can award costs against something that doesn't exist and if they try to enforce that judgment there could be fun.

Jan 29, 2014 at 4:08 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

'"European Court of Justice". There's a /sarc tag missing there I think.'

or "European Court of (ho ho) Justice".

Jan 29, 2014 at 4:49 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

Obviously people would be better informed of the detail when the access the Judgement on the Curia website. However, it is worth looking at the position of the Irish Supreme Court in Nov 2013, which was in direct variance as to what the European Court concluded last week:

Also you have got to remember that all over Europe, communities are suddenly out of the blue being faced with huge extremely well financed and unacceptable developments in their neighborhoods. Often they only have five or six weeks to organise and put in complex and technical / legal counter arguments. There is therefore a valid reason, not least the Convention's requirement in relation to a wide access to justice, to enable them to form and take their case to its obvious conclusion. So there is a precedent here, which is involved.

Jan 29, 2014 at 6:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterPat Swords

The implication would seem to be that the European Court of Justice does not consider itself bound by the Aarhus Convention.

Jan 29, 2014 at 7:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterLuther Bl't

I wonder which non legal entity will be paying the costs.

Jan 29, 2014 at 9:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

@Pat Swords

How goes your own case, please ?

No update that I've found for over 6 months, so I fear the worst

Jan 29, 2014 at 9:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterianl8888

Hi from Oz. Regarding wind farm noise - I recently sent a note to Jennifer Morohasy ( linking the potential use of infrasound as a non-lethal weapon to wind farm noise testing, which I believe she will publish. My research indicates that (a) the sound level meters required (e.g. by the US EPA) to be used for measuring wind farm noise are actually incapable of measuring infrasound (i.e. they do not register noise of frequencies below the lower limit of human hearing of 10-20Hz), and (b) that the negative health impacts identified by research into infrasound as a weapon are remarkably similar to those claimed by those suffering ill-effects from windfarms! Perhaps Pat Swords and windfarm noise sufferers will be interested in these findings?

Jan 30, 2014 at 1:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterBoyfromTottenham


It was before Christmas finally possible to obtain the State's Statement of Defence. They are basically stating that the two week consultation, which nobody essentially knew about, in mid-June 2010 before the 30th June 2010 notification of the National Renewable Energy Action Plan to the EU, fully complied with the Convention. The Compliance Committee on the other hand has already ruled most definitely that two weeks for a consultation on a plan, such as this of such complexity, is most certainly not adequate in relation to the public's right to prepare and participate effectively. In doing so the Committee referred to an earlier ruling some years previously in relation to a landfill project in Lithuania, where two weeks was considered a breach of the Convention. This finding was then endorsed by the Treaty Convention, the Meeting of Parties, and became part of International Law on the application of the Convention. Indeed, Lithuania changed its laws to comply. However, this time the EU and Ireland are refusing to comply with the ruling on the renewable Programme, which is a matter which will be brought to the June 2014 Meeting of the Parties (45 countries which have ratified the UN Treaty).

In Ireland I now have to face the next battle in that 'not prohibitively expensive', the requirement of the Convention and associated EU Directive has not been applied here. Similar problems in the UK, but at least progress is being made there following a previous finding by UNECE, which was later followed by action in the European Court. Obviously the State want to fight this out for five days or so in the Irish Court and have me foot the bill for that upfront (€100K plus). So the next phase is to fight that issue first. The latest developments on that and the sum of money, which is being targeted in on, can be deducted from the recent correspondence to UNECE in relation to the UK's on-going compliance process:

By the way, rural Ireland is now in uproar over the wind turbines and associated pylons. So the public mood is changing, especially in rural areas. In the urban areas they still predominately let the Irish Times and the Sate Broadcaster RTE do the thinking for them.

Jan 30, 2014 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterPat Swords

Pat Swords, just an expression of admiration from a supporter in distant Australia. We have lots of Irish people and their descendants here, and I know from personal experience that once one of them gets the bit between their teeth - look out!

That said, the issue of "standing" is absolutely fundamental to any legal action. While it is a flexible concept (and I'll bet that it is inconsistently applied by this court), it is a perfectly valid reason to dismiss an action. Hopefully this is a mistake that will not be repeated.

Jan 30, 2014 at 7:25 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Just posted in unthreaded : if your community puts up wind or solar then FIT subsidies will pay for it all and our beloved eco-prophet(eer) Ed Davey's new £20m fund will pay your paperwork and legal costs
- From Evening Standard

Pat Swords is an inverse Davey .. Can I praise more ?

Jan 30, 2014 at 8:22 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen


Thank you for the update ... it's an extraordinary fight and you have my respect for it


as the UK link you supplied for progress on "not prohibitvely expensive" implies that UKP25,000 fits this. That's more than prohibitive, I fear, let alone the Irish Govt ignoring the requirement completely

Your comment on the Irish Times leading "Dublin think" is accurate. I have a Dublin-based brother-in-law who visited last September-October. I gently raised your case with him. He'd never heard of it and his immediate reaction was a dogmatic attempt at ad hom (so who's this Swords ? A nutter, probably)

I fear you are being buried

Feb 1, 2014 at 1:41 AM | Unregistered Commenterianl8888


You are right. While I haven't read it myself, back in the eighties I was told there was a Russian reporter from Tass who spent a few years in the Soviet Embassy in Dublin. He went back to Moscow and wrote an article in Pravda that cause an outcry. One of his points made, and there were a few, was that "ignorance in the subject matter was never an obstacle to the Irish". I would vouch for that one. The other one I would vouch for is apathy in relation to what goes on around them. A conversation with a Garda (Police officer) in a pub some weeks ago revealed that the standing joke in the barracks after the economic meltdown in 2008 / 2009, was that if the public had turned up to march on Government buildings, they would have stood back and let them pour in - except they never turned up, outside of the fellow with his cement truck and he was on his own and couldn't be let in.

You might ask your brother in law to comment on the nice pictures of Dublin Bay below, for which he will have to help finance the €2 billion or so in investment if the foreshore licence application (planning) now under way since mid 2013 is approved by the unaccountable administration:

Still good to see that over a hundred of the objections made by those who did care referred to my legal input to date:

However, if you want to see what the overwhelming percentage of them lap up on a daily basis see the reference to 'no brainer' below in their stable diet the Irish Times:

In fact while Ireland does spend some €6 billion a year on imported fossil fuels, less than 20% of that goes to electricity generation, i.e. about €0.9 billion. So if we do the crazy thing and spend some €20 billion on over three thousand turbines, 6,000 km of additional pylons, interconnectors, smart meters (no pun intended), fast response power stations for grid stability, etc, to achieve the utopia of 40% of the electricity to be essentially wind generated; then what next? Given the inefficiencies induced on the power stations we would be lucky to achieve a 20% fuel saving, at most €200 million a year. In other words it's a hundred year payback and the turbines won't last 15 years. However, the Irish never challenged this, as they are completely ignorant of the facts; such facts not being part of their groupthink and the bankers here knew for years they had a poor appreciation of sums. So when the Minister tells them the whole renewable plan is a 'no brainer' and all this wind, which doesn't blow all the time, is a fabulous natural resource - they believe him and fund his buddies.

Maybe I should get something printed in the Moscow Times?

Feb 1, 2014 at 10:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterPat Swords


"... they are completely ignorant of the facts; such facts not being part of their groupthink "

That's not confined to the Irish, of course. Pretty well global. Most people are semi-literate, scientifically illiterate and mathematically innumerate. The MSM know this (journos share these traits). Publishing these facts guarantee a drop in ratings or circulation. Politicians everywhere count on it to ply their trade

Even now, with well over 20 years of MSM propaganda aimed against coal-fired power stations, if you ask a random group of people in a shopping complex HOW coal (including turf, of course) is used to generate electricity ... well, try it and see how you go.They simply have no interest in it :)

Akin to pushing shite constantly uphill with your nose

It's astonished me that you've managed to come this far considering the inertial forces arrayed against rationality. I hope you are not forced out of the game, of course, but even your optimism is limited by both your funding and your actual life span

Yours is an amazing story so far

Feb 2, 2014 at 7:47 AM | Unregistered Commenterianl8888

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