Serious limitation of access to justice rights of NGOs in Hungary

Hungary officially aspires to be among the top producers of electric car batteries. In order to achieve this status, the Government actively inspires foreign investors to locate their manufacturing capacities in Hungary. As a key player, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (China) chose the country town of Debrecen to build its battery factory in an industrial zone that was previously an arable land.

A Budapest-based NGO Védegylet filed a lawsuit against the EIA-EID permit of the company but could not proceed with the case for long, because the Debrecen Court declared the NGO ineligible to file a lawsuit. In a case that clearly falls under the scope of Art. 9.2 of the Aarhus Convention and the EIA Directive of the EU, the Court required the NGO to prove that it had been active in the area affected by the contsruction of the factory at least for 1 year preceding the start of the court case.

Védegylet, the NGO whose claim was thus refused, is supported in this legal battle by J&E Hungary who already submitted an appeal against this unlawfully limiting decision to the Regional Court of Budapest.