Andreas Dietz, Stephan Meyer
Erweiterte Drittanfechtungsklagen von Kommunen am Maßstab der Aarhus-Konvention und des Artikel 28 Absatz 2 Satz 1 GG
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The First Part of the essay indicates significant disparity among the rights of action against the legal approval of projects which may have an impact on the environment. Natural persons, legal entities under private law and municipalities are required to claim a violation of individual rights for an action against such an approval to be admissible (§ 42 (2) VwGO [Verwaltungsgerichtsordnung – Federal Code of Administrative Court Procedure]), In contrast, private associations for the protection of the environment are relieved of that restriction and have a right of action based only on the public interest in protecting the environment. Granting municipalities the same relief should be considered in order to contain growing inconsistencies. The Convention of Aarhus does provide the necessary legal points of contact for integrating extended municipal rights of action into the overall European framework of judicial review in environmental matters. The Second Part examines the compatibility of extending municipal rights of action with the overall German governmental and administrative structure. Grant ing a right of action where no municipal substantive rights are involved would require that municipalities are already competent to at least discuss the implementation of environmental law through other public entities. Whether that is the case depends on the interpretation of article 28 (2) GG [Grundgesetz – German Basic Law], which defines municipalities' jurisdiction as concerning »matters of the local community«. The Federal Constitutional Court assumes that the provision limits jurisdiction to matters concerning local population »as such«. The implementation of environmental law does not seem to generally fit into that limitation, which would bar municipalities from discussing it. However, it can be demonstrated that dropping the limitation would be in line with the provision's legislative history. Additionally, the debate on municipal action against the deployment of nuclear weapons has already provided an example of limited municipal jurisdiction in a matter where it lacks responsibility for implementation entirely. The Second Part further develops the theoretical background of that finding and concludes that municipalities indeed are competent to at least discuss other public entities' implementation decisions.