A2J – EARL Project
For a greener Europe
Nov 2017 / Feb 2020
Improving access to justice in environmental matters
Although EU environmental law and policy are among the most advanced and comprehensive in the world, there is still a large implementation deficit. The strong regulatory framework and environmental policy are not fully ensuring environmental protection due to inadequate implementation.
Experience in the different Member States has shown that relying on public authorities alone to address this implementation deficit is not sufficient. Active citizenship is therefore essential to support action by authorities acting either individually or through Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
There are many ways in which citizen enforcement can take place. However, for it to be truly effective, it is necessary to ensure access to the courts in environmental law.
The LIFE-A2J-EARL project aims to promote the correct application and enforcement of European Union environmental law through effective access to justice for the public, enabling the review (both in administrative and judicial proceedings, as well as through complaint procedures before other review bodies) of acts or omissions by a public authority that undermine the environmental legal order. Access to justice is a fundamental means by which citizens and NGOs can support the implementation and enforcement of laws and policies to protect the environment. To achieve this long-term goal, this project focuses on:
Increasing knowledge of existing legislation and jurisprudence on access to justice in environmental matters among different legal professionals - the judiciary, authorities responsible for the administration of justice, lawyers defending the general interest and public administrations, among others.
To increase understanding of the importance of ensuring adequate access to justice for the implementation of EU environmental law and policy, as well as of the existing challenges and obstacles.
Enhance capacities to overcome substantive and procedural legal challenges and obstacles to effective access to justice in the environmental field.
At least 6,400 persons should have access to:
- Handbook on access to justice, procedural rules and case law on EU environmental law and in relation to the Aarhus Convention: Guide on Access to Justice in European Union law, produced by ClientEarth. Aimed at lawyers, members of the judiciary, public authorities and NGOs to assist them in the correct application and enforcement of the applicable rules on access to justice in environmental matters.
- Toolkit on Access to Justice in 8 Member States. Toolkit on Access to Justice in Spain developed by IIDMA, in collaboration with ClientEarth.
- Digital information platform on Access to Justice in Estonia, Hungary and Poland.
- Database of practising general interest environmental lawyers who have defended access to justice cases.
At least 120 people should receive answers to specific questions through the “ask a lawyer” tool available online.
At least 1,000 people should receive training on access to justice in environmental matters through 48 workshops and seminars held in different locations in 8 member states or through 12 webinars.
At least 120 people should share their experience and knowledge at a conference in Brussels.
At least 85% of the target audience must access project materials or attend events that will provide information on legislation and case law on access to justice in environmental matters.
At least 80% of the target audience who have accessed project materials or attended events should have a greater understanding of the specific challenges and obstacles to accessing justice in environmental matters.
The project in Spain
The presentation event of the A2J Project took place at the Representation of the European Commission in Spain (Madrid). through the analysis, implementation and enforcement of the law in all its aspects.
The "Training day and exchange of good practices" was addressed to environmental lawyers, NGOs, faculty and law students.
Presentations by IIDMA:
- Alba Iranzo: The costs of access to justice in other EU member states.
- Ana Barreira: The right to free legal aid and legal costs in Spain after the Supreme Court Order of 13 March 2019.
- Eduardo Salazar (Lawyer): Main substantive barriers in access to justice in environmental matters.
- Alba Iranzo: Presentation of the A2J-EARL Project on Access to Justice in Environmental Matters.
The "Training Day on Access to Justice in Environmental Matters" was organised by IIDMA in collaboration with ICAM (Environment and Energy Section, and Centre for Social Responsibility of the Madrid Bar).
Presentations of the conference:
- Ana Barreira, IIDMA: The right to legal aid for non-profit legal entities in the jurisprudence of the SC.
- Alba Iranzo, IIDMA: What is the right of access to environmental information?
- Carlota Ruiz-Bautista, IIDMA: What is the right to public participation in environmental matters?
- Alexandre Peñalver, University of Barcelona: "Access to justice in matters of access to information".
- Helena Fabra, OECC: "Public participation in the field of the Strategic Energy and Climate Framework".
- Florabel Quispe, Carlos III University: "Access to Justice and SDGs: an approach to SDG 16".
- Jaime Doreste, Magerit Abogados: Access to justice in matters of public participation: case analysis.