Press "Enter" to skip to content


Angry about gold mining destruction like in Rosia Montana, Romania? Wanna take fracking to court? You want protected areas to actually stay  protected? Want wild animals to roam free in clean and pristine nature?

There are few days left for public consultation on ways to improve access to justice in the field of the environment and hunters’ associations are getting organized for the initiative to die out in its public participatory stage.

Access to justice – the right to challenge decisions or omissions by public bodies that are suspected of not complying with environmental law – is an international obligation under a UN Convention ratified by the EU in 2005.

The consultation is open until 23 September 2013. The Commission will then analyze the results and decide on the possible next steps.

Although EU legislation covers many areas related to access to justice, there are gaps which are only filled by case law. Stakeholders are concerned by the legal uncertainty that they currently face and both the Council and Parliament have called for action to improve access to environmental justice. This consultation asks for views on what action at EU level might be needed to complement or clarify existing legislation, to ensure fair and effective access to national courts in environmental matters.wall17

The consultation covers three broad areas:

  • Perceptions of the importance of ensuring effective and efficient access to environmental justice in Member States
  • Options for ensuring effective and efficient access to justice in environmental matters
  • Elements on which action at EU level is possible

The Court of Justice has confirmed in several cases the importance of providing effective access to justice, notably by giving members of the public and associations an active role in defending the environment.

Access to justice could be improved in two ways – through non-legislative means such as guidance documents, or through binding EU legislation. The purpose of the consultation is to canvass views on these options and related topics.

Access to justice in environmental matters is an international obligation stemming from the Aarhus Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters ratified by the EU in 2005. It is also a general principle of EU law confirmed by the Court of Justice of the EU.

Source: DG Environment, European Commission

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.