Environmental Groups Should Be Allowed To Sue Regulators, Euro Court Advisor Says

Environmental Groups Should Be Allowed To Sue Regulators, Euro Court Advisor Says

Environmental groups must be allowed to launch legal challenges against automotive industry regulators, an advisor to Europe’s top court said today.

Athanasios Rantos, the advocate general at the Court of Justice of the European Union said that regulatory bodies that allow cars to be fitted with emissions software that may be illegal should be capable of being challenged in court, reports Reuters. The decision is non-binding but CJEU judges will rule on the matter in the coming months and follow such recommendations in four out of five cases.

The decision was reached after a German environmental association, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, took a grievance to court in response to Germany’s motor transport authority allowing Volkswagen to install software that worked as a temperature window device. The group argued that the software is an illegal defeat device, but a German court dismissed the challenge.

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The court said that Deutsche Umwelthifle has no standing to take legal action against the national regulator, but asked the CJEU for guidance. Rantos found in favor of the environmental group.

“Approved environmental associations must be able to bring legal proceedings to challenge an EC type-approval of vehicles equipped with ‘defeat devices‘ that may be prohibited,” he said. “A so-called ‘temperature window’ device can be permissible only under strict conditions.”

Deutsche Umwelthilfe says that it is fighting a number of legal battles over the issue of temperature window devices against the Volkswagen Group and Daimler. It is celebrating the decision as a victory.

“Today is a good day for the rule of law,” wrote Jurgen Resch, federal managing director of the organization in a statement translated by Google. “If, as usual, the CJEU follows the Opinion, we will have a supreme court confirmation that all affected fraudulent diesels are illegally on the road and must lose their approval until an effective exhaust gas purification – i.e. a hardware retrofit – has been installed and a corresponding new type approval can be issued.”

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