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Practical application of Article 9 of the Aarhus Convention in EU countries: Some comparative remarks

Pavel Černý

elni Review 2009, Issue 2,  pp. 74-78.

Application of the Aarhus Convention in practice of its parties (including the European Communities) has been reflected recently by several representative studies. In spite of their partial differences, these studies come to similar conclusions with regard to the chief insufficiencies in implementation of requirements concerning access to justice in environmental matters according to Art. 9 of the Convention.
This article discusses several specific topics from this field, which can be considered crucial for legal protection of the environment in practice. More concretely: definition of terms for access to justice by individual members of public (“standing conditions”); scope of the court review of act and omissions, related to the environment; effectiveness of a court review, particularly its timeliness.
Next to the above mentioned studies, the article also refers to the contributions and discussions presented at the „International conference on the implementation of the Aarhus Convention in practice” (hereinafter “the Conference”), which was organised in April 2009 in Brno, the Czech Republic, within the scope of the Czech EU presidency. A few more general but related aspects are touched upon, namely the position of the Convention in the legal system of its parties and its relation to the EC law.
The article is based namely on the outcomes of the projects concerning the NGO experience with using the Aarhus Convention in practice, sponsored by International Visegrad Fund and Ministry for Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment of the Netherlands.

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