Matthijs van Wolferen


The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has refused to allow direct actions as a possible solution for the protection of rights that are not individualisable through public interest litigation. For 53 years it has held on to its interpretation of the standing criteria in (now) Article 263 TFEU, severely limiting access to justice for all but the most specific of cases. The criticism of this interpretation has been copious and strong, newly invigorated in recent years by arguments on the rule of law. This article aims not to add to the criticism but to offer a compelling explanation of the 'why' behind the Court's reasoning. By making use of a framework that addresses a supreme court's interpretative limits regarding locus standi, this article will not only shed light on the past but equally explain why the Court has chosen to reject public interest litigation, in a manner that might otherwise seem counter-intuitive.


CJEU; Public Interest Litigation; Judicial Relations; Standing; Access to Justice
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