Today, Austrian environmentalists have something to celebrate as the Supreme Administrative Court of Austria has granted them access to justice against executive orders.
This ruling follows a long-standing effort from NGOs to challenge these executive orders, which have previously been exempt from any legal action. These orders are often used to allow exemptions to kill protected species, circumventing access to justice.
The plaintiffs in the case, our member, ÖKOBÜRO, and WWF Austria, pushed for a change in Austrian law to allow them to challenge these orders. The court ruled in their favour, granting them access to justice in cases involving wolves, beavers, otters and grey herons.
The case was a significant milestone in the fight for environmental protection in Austria and special credit goes to Birgit Schmidhuber, who was on maternity leave while the case was being fought. The court’s ruling was a huge victory for Austrian NGOs and environmentalists everywhere. (Case number: VwGH 13.7.2023, Ra 2021/10/0162)