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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. https://doi.org/10.46850/elni.2009.010

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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References

  1. Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, adopted in Aarhus, Denmark, in 1998.
  2. Summary Report on the inventory of EU Member States’ measures on access to justice in environmental matters, Millieu Ltd., 2007.
  3. How far has the EU applied the Aarhus Convention?, European Environmental Bureau, 2007.
  4. Implementation of the Aarhus Convention in EU Member States, Justice & Environment, 2006.
  5. Commission Directive 2006/17/EC of 8 February 2006 implementing Directive 2004/23/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards certain technical requirements for the donation, procurement and testing of human tissues and cells (Text with EEA relevance), OJ 2006 L 38/40.
  6. R. Leal-Arcas, The European Community and Mixed Agreements, European Foreign Affairs Review 6, 483-613 (2001).
  7. Communication to the Compliance Committee by ClientEarth, Belgium, concerning the alleged non-conformity of the European Communities with the requirements of Art. 9 of the Aarhus Convention.
  8. Regulation on the application of the provisions of the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters to Community institutions and bodies.