Emerging trends in participatory justice

Thursday 6 Jun 2024, 09:00 - 17:00
Spoken Language
Langeveld 4.22
Campus Woudestein
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Erasmus School of Law

Erasmus School of Law is hosting a workshop on: The emerging trends in participatory justice on 6 June 2024.The purpose of the workshop is to reflect on how public interests can be safeguarded by private actors through public interest litigation as an emergent practice in response to societal challenges within contemporary democracies. Through an interdisciplinary approach, the workshop will enquire in the role of courts in social transformation, new practices in participatory justice and climate change litigation.

* This workshop is supported by the small grants scheme of the research initiative on Rebalancing Public & Private Interests and Erasmus Center of Empirical Legal Studies of Erasmus School of Law and the sector plan for law funding of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research. 

Access to justice is recognised as a human right in many international instruments. However, the changing shapes of the right to access to justice force us to encounter not only its individual but also its collective dimension. Considering the collective dimension of the right to access to the courts, it is relevant to reflect on the increasing participation of civil society in many countries, while the practice of public interest litigation in general (particularly with regards to climate change) is growing.  

Public interest litigation is linked to the access to justice of minorities in the protection of human rights or other urgent claims like the issues related to global warming. A recent illustration is climate litigation, which is well developed in The Netherlands. This trend is coupled with the emergent practice of raising private funds for supporting some of these claims, which entails a novel form of participation of citizens in the public discussion, by economically supporting those causes in which they believe.   

Under this experience, we can observe that access to justice cannot be confined to access to the courts and the traditional roles of the defendant and claimant. Access to justice also means in these cases, the ability to participate in other’s claims in order to protect the public interest or even the well-functioning of democracy and the rule of law. In this context, the changing roles of civil society can serve to reshape civil litigation, by promoting democratic processes with the intention of solving social problems through the courts.  

Given these circumstances, it becomes crucial at this stage to reflect on the role of the courts and the adequacy of traditional procedures, to create room for these new participatory practices, while protecting the due process of law, the rule of law, and human rights standards.  

This workshop aims to bring together scholars that will reflect on the institutional constrains on legal mobilisation, the forms of participation within the EU courts as well as issues related to the standing and the representation in the courtrooms. The several ways of participation in public interest litigation and the prosecution of environmental crimes will also be addresses, while exploring the space of the EU to allow participatory practices. 


09:00 – 9:15  Arrival 
09:15 – 9:30  Welcome address – Asmaa Khadim & M. Carlota Ucín 
9:30 – 10:15 

Johan Karlsson Schaffer (University of Gotenburg)  

Legal opportunities to gain access to justice: How institutional constraints shape legal mobilisation  

10:15 – 11:00 

Alberto Alemanno (HEC Paris) 

Public participation before EU courts: The case for amicus curiae briefs 

11:00 – 11:30  Coffee break 
11:30 – 12:15 

Jos Hoevenaars (Erasmus University Rotterdam) 

Title Nature represented! Climate litigation and the struggle for standing 

12:30 – 13:30  Lunch 
14:00 – 14:45 

Ander Maglica (University of Milan)   

Regaining paradigms lost: Procedural nuances of participation in public interest litigation 

14:45 – 15:30 

Nuria Mallandrich Miret (Universidad de Barcelona)  

Private prosecution of environmental crimes 

15:30 – 16:00   Coffee break 
16:00 – 16:45 

Antonia-Evangelia Christopoulou (Erasmus University Rotterdam)  

Judging EU participatory democracy? 

16:45 – 17:00 Closing remarks 
Please note: Due to format of the workshop, spaces are limited
More information

Interested? Further questions can be sent to: ucin@law.eur.nl.

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