28 February 2018
From Csaba Kiss, Environmental management and law association, part of Justice and Environment network, Hungary
On the 20th of February, a cold and snowy Tuesday, Hungarian Environmental management and law association held a successful national workshop in Budapest about access to justice in environmental matters.
An event that a month ago originally started as a closed meeting of approximately twenty main stakeholders soon became a major mini-conference on the status of access to justice in Hungary with more than forty-five participants, due to the high level of interest in the matter.
The event focused on four major issues: presentation of the project, legislation on access to justice in Hungary, judicial case law of environmental cases and the status of environmental legal education (graduate as well as postgraduate).
Thus, the participants of the event could get a snapshot of how access rights are regulated, practiced, taught, and how the A2J EARL project will play a significant role in the next 2 years in this landscape by raising the awareness of and training the major stakeholders.
The latter were representatives from the Supreme Court, various administrative courts, the Hungarian Judicial Academy, four ministries, public interest environmental attorneys, the attorney general office, the Ombudsman Office, university professors lecturing in environmental law in addition to major environmental NGOs of Hungary routinely involved in legal cases.
In Hungary, there will be six training sessions, prospectively for public administration, judges, attorneys and NGOs between the end of 2018 and the middle of 2020.
A standard component of the A2J EARL project in each participating country is a national workshop having multiple purposes. Such meetings are supposed to present the basic features of the project to the respective domestic stakeholders, to gather information about the needs and expectations of the interested public and to broaden the communications base of the project via compiling a comprehensive contact list, primarily based on the workshop participants' contact information.
The meeting was funded by the LIFE Programme of the EU as part of the A2J EARL 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.