Public interest in environmental issues and the requirement of standing
Changes in moral benefits and socio-economic conditions point to the extension of standing to permit the judicial representation of the public interest in the environment. The suggestion that the enforcement of environmental law benefits from wide public participation in judicial proceedings sets the framework of research into standing for concerned citizens and environmental associations. English law gives an example of how private law procedures cannot incorporate the public interest in the environment. In public law, however, well-acclaimed environmental associations have standing to litigate environmental issues. United States law shifts from the 'environmentalism' of Congress legislation that gives any citizen standing to sue to the restrictive 'constitutionalism' of the Supreme Court, expressed mainly by the separation of powers doctrine. Under the judicial protection afforded by German law to individual rights, environmental associations are only exceptionally permitted as plantiffs, in ten out of sixteen Lander. In Greek law, the circle of potential plantiffs is wide due to the interpretation of the Constitution by the Courts to derive a right to the environment and accept environmental protection as a public interest. The European Court of Justice, because of the relevant Treaty of Rome provisions and the mainly economic nature of the European Community, defines standing by the individuality criterion, thus limiting it considerably. The common minimum features of these five legal systems result to observations as to the definition of standing, the variables of standing extent, the objections for its expansion and the role of judicial activism in the formulation of standing requirements.