The Aarhus Convention raises new questions about the future of the German "Schutznormtheorie" limiting access to justice before the administrative courts. The text and history of Article 9 (2) Aarhus Convention and of Directive 2003/35/EC on public participation seem to recognise this German concept. However, a closer examination of the objective of wide access to justice and of the case law of the European Court of Justice reveals a clear need for changes with regard to the application of this concept by the German courts. In this context, the interrelation of limited rights of action with the depth of judicial control has to be regarded, as well. New German legislation does not satisfy the need for a reform.