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.

Capacity building

Enhance capacities to overcome substantive and procedural legal challenges and obstacles to effective access to justice in the environmental field.

Expected results

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

25 April 2018
11 June 2019
29 January 2020
Training day on Access to Justice in Environmental Matters

Collaborating partners


Project financed by the LIFE-European Union Programme