UK: Aarhus Convention: Maximum Residue Levels

Aarhus Convention: Maximum residue levels

Judgment of the CJEU in: joined cases C-404/12 P and 405/12 P Council and Commission v Stichting Natuur en Milieu and Pesticide Action Network Europe

On 13 January 2015, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) delivered a ruling concerning the direct applicability of the Aarhus Convention into the EU legal order (joined cases C-404/12 P and 405/12 P Council and Commssion v Stichting Natuur en Milieu and Pesticide Action Network Europe). The Judgment is an appeal brought by the Council and the European Commission against a General Court ruling which annulled two Commission decisions from 2008 with regards to the Aarhus Convention and Regulations (EC) No 149/2008 and No 396/2005 on maximum residue levels of pesticides in or on food and feed.

By way of background, Article 9 (3) of the Aarhus Convention provides for access to judicial or other review procedures for challenging acts and omissions by private persons and public authorities which contravene provisions of law relating to the environment. Moreover, the obligations for the EU institutions arising under this convention are implemented by Regulation (EC) No 1367/2006.

In 2008, the two Dutch NGOs, Stichting Nature en Milieu and the Pesticide Action Network Europe, active campaigners against the use of chemical pesticides, requested the Commission to internally review Regulation (EC) No 149/2008 as provided by the Aarhus Convention and implementing Regulation 1367/2006. The Commission rejected those requests arguing that Regulation No 149/2008 was not a measure of individual scope and that it could therefore not be considered an ''administrative act'', capable of forming the subject of the internal review procedure provided for under Article 10 of Regulation 1367/2006. As a result, the two foundations brought a case before the General Court seeking the annulment of the Commission decisions.  

General Court

The General Court ruled in favor of the applicants stating that the EU Courts may examine the validity of a provision of a regulation in the light of an international treaty provided that the nature and the broad logic of the latter do not preclude this and where, in addition, the provisions of the treaty appear, in terms of their content, to be unconditional and sufficiently precise. The Court concluded that the these conditions were satisfied, since on the one hand the NGOs were indirectly questioning the validity of a provision of Regulation No 1367/2006 in the light of the Aarhus Convention and that, on the other hand, that regulation had been adopted to meet the EU's international obligations under Article 9(3) of the Convention.  

CJEU

By way of a background in setting aside the judgment at first instance, the CJEU made the following important conclusions, which have far-reaching consequences not only for EU plant protection legislation, but also for the general EU procedural law.

First, the Court of Justice said that in conformity with the principles of international law, the EU institutions which have power to negotiate and conclude such an agreement are free to agree with the non-member States concerned what effects the provisions of the agreement are to have in the internal legal order of the contracting parties.

Second and most importantly, in light of the relevant case-law (judgments in Intertanko and Others, EU: C: 2008:312; FIAMM and Others v Council and Commission, EU: C: 2008:476), the Court rebutted the main argument of the General Court by saying that the criteria for an international treaty being ''unconditional and sufficiently precise'' is not met in the current case. In particular, the CJEU concluded that Article 9(3) of the Aarhus Convention does not contain any unconditional and sufficiently precise obligations capable of directly regulating the legal position of individuals.

Finally, it stated that it cannot be considered that, by adopting Regulation No 1367/2006, which concerns only EU institutions, the EU intended to implement the obligations, which derive from Article 9(3) of the Aarhus Convention with respect to national administrative or judicial procedures. For all these reasons, the Court of Justice ruled that the General Court made an error of law in deciding that Article 9(3) of the Aarhus Convention could be relied on directly by private parties in order to assess the legality of an EU secondary legislative act - Regulation No 1367/2006.

The impact of this Judgment goes beyond Article 9(3) of the Aarhus Convention as it concerns more generally the direct applicability of international agreements into the EU legal order. In this respect, other international agreements such as the Stockholm Convention on POP will have to be assessed on the basis of this Judgment.  

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.