Access to Justice

Improving Access to Justice (A2J – EARL)



While the body of EU environmental policy and regulation is one of the most advanced and comprehensive in the world, an implementation gap has become evident. Strong legislative and policy frameworks are not providing the results that they should because they are not properly implemented. Experience across EU Member States has shown that relying solely on public authorities to overcome the implementation deficit will not yield the required results. Therefore, active citizens, either acting on their own or via NGOs, are essential to support the actions of authorities. There are many ways in which such ‘citizen enforcement’ could take place. However, in order to be truly effective, it needs to involve access to judicial review.




The LIFE-A2J-EARL project aims to improve the implementation and enforcement of EU environmental law by providing the public with effective access to justice, such as judicial review, administrative review and complaints to other appeal bodies. 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. In order to reach this long-term goal, the project aims to:

  • Increase awareness of existing rules and case-law on access to justice in environmental matters for specific target audiences – the judiciary, bodies responsible for the administration of justice, public interest lawyers and public administrations;
  • Increase understanding of the importance of ensuring proper access to justice for the implementation of EU environmental laws and policies;
  • Increase understanding of specific challenges and obstacles to proper access to justice in environmental matters both at national and EU level; and
  • Increase knowledge and capacity for overcoming legal (both substantial and procedural) challenges and obstacles to effective access to justice in the environmental field.


Expected results:


At least 6 400 people having access to at least one of the following materials created during the project: a handbook on access to justice, EU procedural rules and case law and the Aarhus Convention equivalents, national toolkits on access to justice in 8 Member States and the digital information platform, a public interest lawyer database regrouping lawyers active in the field of environmental law and have been dealing with access to justice cases;


At least 120 people receiving an answer to their specific question via the ‘ask a lawyer’ function that will be published online;


At least 1000 people trained on access to justice issues in 48 workshops and seminars held in different locations in eight Member States or via 12 webinars;


At least 120 people sharing their experience and knowledge at a conference held in Brussels;


At least 80% of the target audience accessing project materials or attending events will have a better understanding of the specific challenges and obstacles to proper access to justice on environmental matters.


As part of the A2J Project, ClientEarth has elaborated a Guide on Access to Justice in European Union Law, aimed at lawyers, members of the judiciary, public authorities and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to assist them in the right application and enforcement of the rules on access to justice in environmental matters.


You can download it here.


You can also consult the Toolkit on Access to Justice in Spain prepared by IIDMA, with the collaboration of ClientEarth, here.


Further information

APRIL 2018: Project presentation


The presentation of the A2J Project in Spain took place on 25 April in Madrid. You can download the material of the project that was used for its presentation in the following link:


JUNE 2019: 1st training on access to justice


On 11th June IIDMA held the first access to justice training session in Spain targeting environmental lawyers, NGOs, law professors and students. It was hosted by the Representation of the European Commission in Madrid. The training presentations are available here:


Alba Iranzo, IIDMA: Los costes del acceso a la justicia en otros estados miembro de la UE.


Ana Barreira, IIDMA): El derecho a la asistencia jurídica gratuita y las costas judiciales en España tras el Auto del Tribunal Supremo de 13 de marzo 2019.


Eduardo Salazar, environmental lawyer: Principales barreras sustantivas en el acceso a la justicia en asuntos ambientales.


Alba Iranzo, IIDMA: Presentación del Proyecto A2J-EARL sobre Acceso a la Justicia en Asuntos Ambientales.


JANUARY 2020: 2nd training on access to justice


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 presentations are available here:


Ana Barreira, IIDMA: El derecho a la justicia gratuita de las personas jurídicas sin ánimo de lucro en la jurisprudencia del TS.


Alba Iranzo, IIDMA: ¿En qué consiste el derecho de acceso a la información ambiental?


Carlota Ruiz-Bautista, IIDMA: ¿En qué consiste el derecho de participación pública en asuntos ambientales?


Alexandre Peñalver, University of Barcelona: “El acceso a la justicia en materia de acceso a la información”.


Helena Fabra, Spanish Office for Climate Change: “La participación pública en el ámbito del Marco Estratégico de Energía y Clima”.


Florabel Quispe, Carlos III University: Acceso a la Justicia y ODS: una aproximación al ODS 16.


Jaime Doreste, Law firm Magerit Abogados: El acceso a la justicia en materia de participación pública: análisis de casos.


A video-summary covering the 2nd training:





07/2017 – 07/2020


Cooperation partners


Justice & Environment (Coordination)




ClientEarth, UK


  Resultado de imagen de client earth




Instituto Internacional de Derecho y Medio Ambiente (IIDMA), Spain


Environmental Management and Law Association (EMLA), Hungary


Estonian Environmental Law Center (EELC), Estonia


Ökobüro, Austria


Unabhängiges Institut für Unweltfragen, Germany


Via Iuris, Slovakia


Funded by


EU-Programme LIFE





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