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ClientEarth Communications

30th September 2020

Access to Justice update from ClientEarth and Justice&Environment - September 2020

Our analysis

Class Actions for Europe: The Collective Redress Directive

In the first week of July, the European Parliament and the Council reached a final agreement on the text of the Collective Redress Directive. The Directive gives certain “qualified entities”, such as consumer organisations, the possibility to bring court cases to protect the general interest of consumers or, in case of compensation cases, on behalf of a group of consumers. The Directive will allow for such entities to enforce the provisions of certain Directives and Regulations intended to protect people and the planet more widely, which makes it potentially relevant for access to justice in environmental matters.

Read the analysis by Sebastian Bechtel

No space for illegal development – CJEU clarifies EIA and SEA remedies

On 25 June 2020, the Court of Justice published a judgement regarding the interpretation of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Directive. The Directive requires authorities to prepare an SEA prior to the adoption of certain plans/programmes that set the framework for the permitting of projects that significantly affect the environment, specifically those that require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The judgement includes some interesting clarifications as to the consequences if no SEA is carried out before the plan/programme is adopted, both for the plan/programme itself and any projects that were permitted based thereon.

Read the analysis by Sebastian Bechtel

A major win for the civil society of Hungary: EU Court rules that NGO Transparency Law is contrary to EU Treaties

The EU Court has ruled that the provisions of a Hungarian law that impose obligations of registration, declaration and publication, as well as significant penalties, on NGOs receiving funding from third countries are contrary to the EU Treaties. The case arose from infringement proceedings brought against Hungary by the European Commission, supported by Sweden. However, despite the judgment, the provisions remain in force and continue to affect NGOs registered in Hungary.

Read the analysis by Csaba Kiss

Advocate General: Access to justice for the “public concerned” is not dependent on the exercise of public participation rights

Advocate General Bobek has advised the Court to confirm that the Aarhus Convention, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive and the Industrial Emissions Directive guarantee access to justice for the public concerned by a proposed activity, even if they did not take part in the preceding public participation procedure.

Read the analysis by Anne Friel

Our upcoming events

Virtual conference “Access to justice in environmental matters: obstacles, impacts and ways forward” – 15th & 16th October

This conference is the closing event of this 3 years project and will provide an opportunity to share our experience regarding the state of play in the different countries of the project, and to engage in discussion with representatives from EU institutions and Member State authorities, legal professionals, judges and NGO representatives from all over Europe.

View detailed agenda and sign up here

Séminaire en ligne – “Aarhus et accès à la justice – Quelle actualité, vu de Belgique?” – 6 octobre 2020

Ce séminaire est organisé par le Centre d’étude du droit de l’environnement (CEDRE) de l’Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles dans le cadre du cycle « Collectif et responsabilité », et par ClientEarth dans le cadre du projet « Accès à la justice pour une Europe plus verte » financé par le programme LIFE de la Commission européenne.

Consulter l’agenda et s'inscrire

The project

Access to Justice is a fundamental means through which citizens and NGOs can support the implementation and enforcement of laws and policies to protect the environment.

The goal of this ATOJ-EARL project is to achieve “Access to Justice for a Greener Europe”. It strives to enhance access to justice in environmental matters by providing information, training and support for the judiciary, public authorities and lawyers of eight European member states.

ClientEarth and Justice and Environment are implementing this project with the financial support of the European Commission’s LIFE instrument.