European Review of Private Law

Volume 4 (1996)

Volume 4 (1996) / Issue 2

Gerrit Betlem, 'Cross-border water pollution: two paradigmatic Dutch cases' (1996) 4 European Review of Private Law, Issue 2, pp. 159–178

breach of environmental statutory duty, Dutch tort law, environmental due diligence, European private international law, standing for public interest groups


Trans-boundary water pollution disputes before civil courts raise complex questions of substantive tort law, of standing for public interest groups and of private international law. As for the international jurisdiction of Dutch courts with respect to most European-based defendants, the EC 1968 Brussels Convention applies. This instrument provides for competence of the Dutch courts at the place(s) where the harmful event has occurred (the forum delicti). To date, the European Court of Justice has not yet decided whether the forum delicti also applies in situations of threatened wrong. Regarding Dutch substantive tort law, the applicable law in the two dispute this article focuses on, Dutch-based environmental protection groups have successfully sued foreign defendants on the basis of breach of statutory duty, whereas they are facing judicial reluctance when suing on the basis of breach of unwritten law.

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ISSN: 0928-9801
ID: 135254