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General Articles ∙ Urgenda II and its Discontents

Suryapratim Roy


On 9 October 2018 the Hague Court of Appeals in the Netherlands upheld the judgement of the District Court in the influential Urgenda case. The Court also entertained a cross-appeal filed by the Urgenda Foundation, and ruled that the European Convention on Human Rights is directly applicable in determining the State’s duty of care in protecting its citizens from imminent climate harm. In addition to developing human rights jurisprudence on climate targets, the Court of Appeals also addresses the issue of compliance with European Union law. The judgment has attracted several lines of critique, including the possibility of adversely affecting the internal market of the European Union, the propensity of the judgment to argue from physical necessity rather than law, and the indefensible concentration on mitigation rather than adaptation. This article briefly summarises the District Court judgment, identifies the primary jurisprudential moves made by the Court of Appeals, and responds to some of the criticisms levelled against the judgement.

Suryapratim Roy Assistant Professor, School of Law, Trinity College Dublin. For Correspondence: <>


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