Sensing for Justice 

Citizen Sensing as a source of evidence in environmental justice litigation and as a tool for environmental mediation

Safecast premises. Tokyo. Japan - April 2019

       Project's aims



What is the potential of introducing citizen-sensed evidence for environmental litigation in European courts? Which barriers need to be removed? 

Early results of the research on these questions: 'The Formosa Case: A Step Forward on the Acceptance of Citizen-Collected Evidence in Environmental Litigation?'


How can the use of civic evidence in environmental litigation be legitimized on the basis of existing and new rights?

Early results of the research on these questions: Citizen Sensing from a Legal Standpoint: Legitimizing the Practice under the Aarhus Framework 


Could Citizen Sensing be conceived also as a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) promoting environmental mediation and avoiding the conflict's escalation to courts?

Early results of the research on these questions:  Striving for Good Environmental Information: Civic Sentinels of Oil Pollution in the South of the North

SensJus vision

The Sensing for Justice (SensJus) project researches the potential of grassroots-driven environmental monitoring, i.e. Citizen Sensing, as a source of evidence in environmental justice litigation, and as a tool for environmental mediation in extra-judicial setting. Our research addresses an urgent need for multi- and interdisciplinary research to understand emerging possibilities of the practice and to provide scientific evidence for decision-making in the EU.

The envisaged opportunities of our idea are many, ranging from a closer connection of the affected people to environmental litigation, to a wider, more diverse and inclusive availability of evidence on critical environmental issues, to the possibility of even mitigating the conflict.



I - Citizen Sensing as a source of evidence in courts.

II - Towards a right to contribute to environmental information.

III - Mediating environmental conflicts through Citizen Sensing.

The project output for 2020 is showcased on the #CitizenSData Community page of the European Commission JRC Science Hub.

The project is developed thanks to the support of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant n. 891513, under H2020-EU, and to the concluded research grant of the Dutch Research Council NWO, the Rubicon fellowship n. 66202117.


Drawing lessons for Europe, through comparison and lesson-learning from successful and failed U.S. cases.



1 - The Formosa case of citizen scientists that brought to court a petrochemical company based in part on volunteered evidence (the U.S)

2 - The AnalyzeBasilicata case of civic monitoring environmental health issues associated with oil extraction (Italy)

Several more under the radar, such as the civic water monitoring around the Lambro river, Lombardy (Italy); the air and noise monitoring around Malpensa Airport and the city of Milan (Italy); the civic observatory on flood risk on the Brenta Bacchiglione river basin, Veneto (Italy); the spill of plastic matter from a water treatment plant from Capaccio (Italy) to the Mediterranean; the case from Greenpeace Belgium and CurieuzeNeuzen on air quality data used in courts.

SensJus policy series

The SensJus policy perspectives are briefs that take stock of lessons learned and analyses performed on more generalizable topics which intersect and intertwine with SensJus core focus. You can download the main briefs below:

what's going on

Project news 

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Le projet SensJus a lancé une courte bande dessinée relatant l'histoire d'une sentinelle civique, qui raconte le combat de beaucoup et une leçon d'espoir.

SensJus recently launched an 'experiment'. As our research often addresses participants who may have a low literacy level, we realized that standard consent forms were not meaningful for the aim of achieving an aware participation and informed consent. Therefore, we realized, together with an artist, forms that combine visuals and text. With the...

And now?

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