Journal Article

Access to Justice in Environmental Matters—Does the European Union Comply with its Obligations?

Charles Poncelet

in Journal of Environmental Law

Volume 24, issue 2, pages 287-309
Published in print July 2012 | ISSN: 0952-8873
Published online March 2012 | e-ISSN: 1464-374X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jel/eqs004
Access to Justice in Environmental Matters—Does the European Union Comply with its Obligations?

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This article examines whether the European Union (EU) has duly implemented its obligations regarding access to justice in environmental matters. On the one hand, a couple of directives have been revisited so as to oblige Member States to foster better access to justice in accordance with the Aarhus Convention. Through recent significant decisions, the EU judiciary has partially filled the legislative gap by showing its willingness to grant EU citizens effective remedies. On the other hand, the EU courts remain hardly accessible, if not inaccessible, to both individuals and environmental associations. The relevant case-law is critically assessed inter alia in the light of the 2011 draft findings of the Compliance Committee following a case brought against the EU. A suggested way forward is outlined accordingly. In sum, whether the EU legal system complies with the letter and the spirit of the Aarhus Convention remains highly questionable.

Keywords: European Union Law; Aarhus Convention; access to justice; environmental matters

Journal Article.  9945 words. 

Subjects: Environment and Energy Law

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