Today, the Dutch Supreme Court decided that the Unbundling Act ("Wet onafhankelijk netbeheer") does not breach the European fundamental freedoms. The Court thus overturns an earlier decision by the Court of Appeals in the cases filed by Dutch energy companies Essent, Eneco and Delta. Two days earlier, the District Court of The Hague held that the Netherlands fall short of their obligations to increase sustainability.
- The cases of Eneco and Delta are referred back to the Court of Appeals to decide on their appeal in as far as it is based on article 1 of the first protocol of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms ("ECHR"). The Supreme Court dismissed the claim by Essent which did not include an appeal on the ECHR.
When the Dutch Unbundling Act came into force in 2008, Nuon and Essent unbundled their network operators according to the requirements of the Act. Delta and Eneco resisted to do so.
- The Court ordered the Dutch government to cut greenhouse emissions by 25% by 2020 from benchmark 1990 levels, as opposed to its current goal of 14 - 17%. The case was filed by interest group Urgenda on behalf of 886 plaintiffs.
In its ruling, the Court attached great value to the State's duty to care for the protection of the environment and its responsibility to avert the dangers of climate change. In this remarkable decision, the Court intervenes with public decision-making processes through general principles of civil law