Aarhus And Access To Justice: Does The EC Meet The Grade?

On 9 June 2009, the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) will publish a study, commissioned by WWF-UK, on the European Community's performance on access to justice. The report examines whether the European Community (EC) - as a party to the Aarhus Convention - gives citizens and environmental organizations adequate and effective access to justice enabling them to seek review of acts and omissions of EC institutions and bodies which contravene provisions of EC law relating to the environment, as it is required to do under Article 9(3) of the Convention.

In 2007, the European Commission published a series of reports concerning access to justice in 25 EC Member States. However, these reports only addressed the legal situation in the Member States and did not examine whether the European courts, which have exclusive jurisdiction under the EC Treaty to review the legality of acts and omissions of EC institutions, actually give individual citizens and NGOs access to environmental justice.

The new report, written by IEEP Senior Fellow Marc Pallemaerts, focuses on the EC’s performance on such topics as standing, costs and remedies, and discusses how improvements could be made to the current legal situation. On 9 June 2009, IEEP and WWF-UK will hold an event at the IEEP Brussels office to present the main findings of the report. In addition to the author and Carol Hatton of WWF-UK, two keynote speakers will also participate: Caroline Lucas, MEP, and Laure Levi, a Member of the Brussels Bar with extensive experience of litigation before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

Download the report.