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Supreme Court of Denmark

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency not liable in damages 

Case no. 240/2007
Judgment 20 May 2009
 

Marius Pedersen A/S

vs.

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency

On 21 February 2000, Marius Pedersen A/S, a company engaged in, among other things, refuse collection in Denmark for disposal and recovery in other European countries, submitted an export notification regarding electronics waste to be transported in several shipments during the subsequent year. On 14 March 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency objected to the notification claiming that it was not satisfactory. It proceeded to set up further requirements as conditions for the export, including a requirement regarding a so-called exemption declaration to be obtained from local authorities. Marius Pedersen A/S submitted additional information, but the Environmental Protection Agency did not grant Marius Pedersen A/S the requested permission.

The main issue before the Supreme Court was whether the Agency – by not having given its permission to export the waste – had caused Marius Pedersen A/S to suffer a compensable loss.

The Supreme Court gave judgment in favour of the Environmental Protection Agency, among other things, on the grounds that the Agency had been entitled to object against the export and subsequently refrain from informing Marius Pedersen A/S that the problems giving rise to the objection had been solved. The Supreme Court based its decision on the fact that Marius Pedersen A/S had not been able to fulfil the requirements justifiably set up by the Agency. Against this background, the Supreme Court did not believe that it had been established that the somewhat serious mistakes that the Agency had made in connection with the interpretation of a Regulation could be assumed to have made Marius Pedersen A/S suffer a loss. In addition, it had not been proven on a balance of probabilities that the Environmental Protection Agency had made Marius Pedersen A/S suffer a financial loss by unjustifiably upholding the other requirements. Also, the Supreme Court stated that the Agency’s treatment of Marius Pedersen A/S had been unacceptable in a number of respects, but that did could not be taken to have made Marius Pedersen A/S suffer a loss either.

The High Court had reached the same conclusion. 

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