The Commissioner for consumer affairs of the European Commission recently announced that the Commission will publish a proposal for a directive on group actions for consumers, in order to improve access to justice. We hope it can also include provisions on access to justice in environmental matters.
In a landmark judgment, the European Court of Justice ruled that environmental NGOs must have access to justice in water law proceedings. This case represents a huge breakthrough for access to justice rights in environmental matters in Austria, which have to date been extremely restrictive.
Belgian court provides opportunity to set binding precedent on the right of the public to enforce air quality monitoring rules
The Court of First Instance of Brussels issued an interim judgment in the clean air case that ClientEarth is pursuing against the Brussels Regional government.
On 13 December 2017 the Administrative Court of Schleswig Holstein handed down judgment in a case on access to justice for NGOs decided under the newly amended Environmental Appeals Act 2017. Following the entry into force of the amendment in August last year, legal discussions on its scope continue.
Europeans should be able to bring environmental cases to court more easily in future, as ClientEarth and Justice and Environment have jointly launched the “Access to Justice for a greener Europe” (A2J EARL) project.