While the body of EU environmental policy and regulation is one of the most advanced and comprehensive in the world, an implementation gap has become evident. Strong legislative and policy frameworks are not providing the results that they should because they are not properly implemented. Experience across EU Member States has shown that relying solely on public authorities to overcome the implementation deficit will not yield the required results. Therefore, active citizens, either acting on their own or via NGOs, are essential to support the actions of authorities. There are many ways in which such ‘citizen enforcement’ could take place. However, in order to be truly effective, it needs to involve access to judicial review.
Access to Justice for a greener Europe aims to improve the implementation and enforcement of EU environmental law by providing the public with effective access to justice, such as judicial review, administrative review and complaints to other appeal bodies.
In order to reach this long-term goal, the project aims to disseminate information, knowledge and share best practices about Access to Justice with an audience of legal professionals, judiciary, NGOs, public interest lawyers and public administration.
It specifically emphasizes on :
- Informing about existing rules and case-law on access to justice in environmental matters;
- Explaining the importance of ensuring proper access to justice for the implementation of EU environmental laws and policies;
- Highlighting specific challenges and obstacles to proper access to justice in environmental matters both at national and EU level;
- Providing methods for overcoming legal (both substantial and procedural) challenges and obstacles to effective access to justice in the environmental field.
Actions and expected results
This three year project started in July 2017 involves the production of “awareness raising” materials and organization of activities such as :
- A monthly newsletter about the latest updates in access to justice
- A handbook on access to Justice EU procedural rules and case law and the Aarhus Convention equivalents
- National toolkits on access to justice in 8 Member States
- A digital information platform with an “ask a lawyer service”
- A public interest lawyer database regrouping lawyers active in the field of environmental law
- 48 workshops and seminars held in different locations in 8 member states
- A series of webinars
- An EU wide conference held in Brussels
It targets legal professionals of the following member States :