15 April 2020
On Wednesday 29 January the Instituto Internacional de Derecho y Medio Ambiente (IIDMA) held the second access to justice training session in Spain, targeting a wide range of professionals from the legal sector, especially lawyers. The event was organized in collaboration with the Madrid Bar Asociación (Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Madrid - ICAM) and was hosted by the ICAM in Madrid.
The training was comprised of three panels that focused on the Aarhus Convention pillars: access to environmental information, public participation in environmental matters and access to justice in the environmental matters. At each panel three to four relevant speakers intervened, including public and private environmental lawyers, a representative from the Technical Cabinet of the Spanish Supreme Court, a representative from the Spanish Office for Climate Change-OECC (Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge), the director of the Andalucian Institute for Public Administration (IAAP) and environmental law professors.
The training was aimed at providing in-depth knowledge on the main legal framework governing Aarhus rights at international, EU and Spanish levels, as well as an assessment on how the exercise of these rights works in practice. In addition, each panel included an analysis of relevant case-law from the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee (ACCC), the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and Spanish courts on these matters.
The training generated high interest from the public, resulting in the participation of 94 representatives of the legal sector. The session also provided a space for questions and discussions.
While it is generally recognized that Spain is among the most advanced countries in the EU concerning environmental justice, participants agreed on key improvements that would help to remove existing barriers on access to justice in the country. These include increasing the number of trainings on environmental law for the judiciary, creating specialized environmental courts, reducing procedural delays, and promoting further training for public servants on access to environmental information issues, among others.
A video-summary covering the training will be available very soon at IIDMA's website.
All the presentations are available here (in Spanish)
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.