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Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie) v Royal Dutch Shell

Otto Spijkers, ‘Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie) v Royal Dutch Shell’, in Chinese Journal of Environmental Law, Volume 5, Issue 2 (2021), pp. 237–256.

Abstract

This note provides an analysis of the judgment of the District Court of The Hague, Netherlands, in the case initiated by Friends of the Earth Netherlands (‘Milieudefensie’) against the giant global oil company Royal Dutch Shell (hereafter Shell), headquartered in The Hague.1 The note is structured as follows. First, the ruling is placed in the larger climate litigation context. This is followed by a summary of the ruling itself and an analysis of some of the most interesting aspects of the ruling. These include the fact that Shell’s behaviour was considered unlawful even though the company had not breached any specific legal provision of either international or domestic (Dutch) law, the way in which the Court dealt with the most often heard justifications for evading responsibility, and the suggestion that the Netherlands has become a dikastocracy – a land ruled by judges rather than by government.

 

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