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Multilevel Access to Justice in Environmental Matters in the European Union: A Systemic Imbalance?
Muñoz, Susana
2022Twenty-Eighth International Conference of Europeanists, “The Environment of Democracy”


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Keywords :
Aarhus Convention; EU Aarhus Regulation; Acces to justice; EU Environmental Law; Environmental justice
Abstract :
[en] The European Union (EU) is a Party to the Aarhus Convention, as are, separately, its 27 Member States. The EU’s composite and multi-layered system raises important issues as regards compliance with this Convention. As a new kind of environment agreement, it grants the public rights and imposes on Parties obligations regarding access to information, public participation, and access to justice in environmental matters – the three pillars of environmental democracy. Access to justice emerges as the primary means for the Convention’s enforcement, supporting the two other pillars’ implementation, and safeguarding the rights it enshrines and those arising from EU or national law. Despite its pivotal importance, there is no common framework for access to environmental justice in the EU. Numerous obstacles remain at various levels. Considerable discrepancies exist between national systems. According to the ACCC, the EU failed to comply with its obligations under the Convention regarding acts and omissions by the EU institutions and bodies that contravene EU environmental law. As part of the European Green Deal, Regulation (EU) 2021/1767 – adopted on 6 October 2021 prior to the opening of the seventh session of the Meeting of the Parties – introduces significant amendments to the Aarhus Regulation which are expected to bring the EU into compliance with the Convention. Building on EU and national case-law and legislation, this paper provides a critical analysis of the amended Regulation and its impact on the implementation of the EU’s multilevel access to justice to protect every person’s right to a healthy environment.
Disciplines :
European & international law
Author, co-author :
Muñoz, Susana ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance (FDEF) > Department of Law (DL)
External co-authors :
Language :
Title :
Multilevel Access to Justice in Environmental Matters in the European Union: A Systemic Imbalance?
Publication date :
30 June 2022
Event name :
Twenty-Eighth International Conference of Europeanists, “The Environment of Democracy”
Event organizer :
Council for European Studies - Iscte, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa
Event place :
Lisboa, Portugal
Event date :
From 29-06-2022 to 01-06-2022
Audience :
Focus Area :
Law / European Law
Available on ORBilu :
since 15 December 2022


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