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Disputation: Hilde K. Ellingsen

Hilde K. Ellingsen at the Scandinavian Institute of Maritime Law will be defending the thesis Standing to Enforce European Union Law before National Courts. EU Law Requirements on the Legal Standing of Individuals for the degree of Ph.D.

Hilde K. Ellingsen

Photo: UiO

Trial lecture - time and place

Adjudication committee

  • Professor Ole-Andreas Rognstad, University of Oslo (leader)
  • Professor Michael Dougan, University of Liverpool (1. opponent)
  • Professor Niamh Nic Shuibhne, University of Edinburgh (2. opponent)


  • Professor Finn Arnesen
  • Professor Tarjei Bekkedal


The Court of Justice of the European Union has recognized access to court as an essential element of a Union based on the rule of law. Whether a claimant has standing to sue is critical to whether he may enforce the law and obtain a remedy. Member States apply different doctrines to limit the scope of persons with standing. Nevertheless, when the proceedings engage with issues of EU law, domestic standing rules may have to yield to afford the claimant effective access to court. This thesis examines the standing rules a Member State must apply to live up to the demands of EU law. The thesis analyzes the requirements stemming from EU law from two different angles: first, from the angle of effective judicial protection of Union rights; second, from the angle of the effectiveness of Union law per se. 

Effective protection of Union rights

The thesis argues that EU law exerts its influence on national standing rules primarily through the principle of effective judicial protection, enshrined in Article 47(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 19(1) TEU. Based on an inductive analysis of the Court’s case law, the thesis formulates an autonomous Union law doctrine of standing: Member States must grant standing to a claimant holding a Union right, if this right is adversely affected by the infringement and the claimant demonstrates a vested and present interest in the proceedings. 

Effectiveness of EU law per se 

Allowing private parties to pursue their Union rights in court does not necessarily render EU law effective in the Member States. The thesis therefore examines the extent to which standing must be provided with a view to ensuring the effectiveness of Union law in the Member State concerned. It argues that the requirements placed on Member States are less strict when Union rights are not at stake. As an aspect of the duty of loyal cooperation, enshrined in Article 4(3) TEU, Member States are required to take all necessary measures to guarantee the application and effectiveness of EU law within their jurisdiction. Still, the principle of effectiveness cannot form the basis of uniform standing rules. Rather than prescribing a particular means of enforcement, the principle serves to scrutinize ex post whether the selected enforcement mechanisms satisfy the effectiveness test, and to strike down domestic solutions that unduly undermine the effectiveness of Union law.


Published Dec. 20, 2017 3:35 PM - Last modified Apr. 8, 2021 3:04 PM