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Die Notwendigkeit einer Verbandsklage im Klimaschutzrecht

Erika Wagner


The following article demonstrates the need to establish collective actions in Austrian civil procedure law in connection with so-called climate claims. Collective actions of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which devote themselves to the protection of the environment, have so far not been enforced on a legal level in Austria. In order to bring an action concerning international climate litigation, the introduction of a Climate Liability Directive at EU level, which contains the corresponding collective claim rights, is required. To ensure the effective legal protection of individual interests, it is necessary in light of the procedural safeguards of Art. 6, Art. 13 ECHR and Art. 47 CFREU to establish an additional legal procedure. Too big are the hurdles, if the individual has to bring climate action against corporations to protect his or her legal interests. In the absence of truly realistic options, it would be necessary to supplement the constitutional standard of individual legal protection with collective models of legal action. The new proposal of the EU for a directive on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers confirms the trend towards collective redress, but only concerns consumer protection law. The proposal contains many aspects that would also be a suitable basis for climate liability cases. In order to open the scope of application of the EU Directive for the area of climate protection law, it would be urgently necessary to extend the appendix to climate-relevant legal acts of the EU law, such as the certificate trading Directive etc. Climate protection law would then become relevant for private-law suits.

Universitätsprofessorin Drin Maga Erika Wagner ist habilitierte Zivilrechtlerin und Vorständin des Instituts für Umweltrecht und Leiterin der Abteilung Umweltprivatrecht am Institut für Zivilrecht der Johannes-Kepler-Universität in Linz, Österreich.

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