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Lithuania - Supreme Administrative Court - A. Ž. and others v. Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania and its Vilnius Regional Environmental Protection Department - Summary with the judgement text. Key issue: Individuals and groups of individuals did not have the right to defend public interests in a case concerning illegal lumbering. Key words: access to justice and defence of public interest. English
Armenia - Administrative Court - Dolphynarium case - summary with a link to the judgement. Key issue: NGO standing - The Administrative Court of Armenia referring to the previous judgments by the Cassation Court and the Constitutional Court stated that environmental NGOs did not have standing before the court in case of requesting environmental impact assessment for the specific project listed in article 4 of Armenian Law "On Environmental Impact Expertiza". Key words: access to justice, legal standing, non-governmental organization, abstract claim and environmental impact assessment. Armenian | English
Belgium - Council of State - IMMO Dominique, Council of State, Nr. 221.784/2012 - summary with a link to the judgement. Key issue: Access to justice – Two small businesses, located 3 and 5 kilometres away from a planned large scale shopping center, were granted standing in the Council of State to challenge the environmental permit for the establishment that had been issued by the Minister of the environment of the Flemish region. As to the substance of the case, the Council of State suspended of the permit, as the principle of care had been violated in the decision making and the negative impacts of the establishment would be impossible to rectify at a later stage. Key words: environmental permit, large scale commercial complex, EIS, insufficient measures to avoid important traffic problems, access to justice, legal standing, sufficient interest, injunctive relief, effective remedy Dutch | English
EU - Court of Justice - Mr Edwards and Mr Pallicaropoulos (C-260/11) - Summary with a link to the preliminary ruling. Key issue: Access to justice and costs in environmental cases. Key words: Access to justice, costs and meaning of prohibitive expense.
This request for a preliminary ruling concerns the interpretation of the fifth paragraph of Article 10a of Council Directive 85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment (OJ 1985 L 175, p. 40) and the fifth paragraph of Article 15a of Council Directive 96/61/EC of 24 September 1996 concerning integrated pollution prevention and control (OJ 1996 L 257, p. 26), as amended by Directive 2003/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 May 2003 (OJ 2003 L 156, p. 17) (‘Directive 85/337’ and ‘Directive 96/61’, respectively).
The request has been made in proceedings between, on the one hand, Mr Edwards and Ms Pallikaropoulos and, on the other, the Environment Agency, the First Secretary of State and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs concerning a permit issued by the Environment Agency for the operation of a cement works. The request concerns the conformity with European Union law of the decision of the House of Lords ordering Ms Pallikaropoulos, whose appeal had been dismissed as unfounded, to pay the costs of the opposing parties.
Council of Europe - European Court of Human Rights Flamenbaum a.o. v France, Applications nos. 3675/04, 23264/04. The ECHR held unanimously that the right to respect for private and family life (art. 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights) and the right for protection of property (art. 1 of Protocol No. 1) were not violated in the case concerning the extension of the main runway at Deauville Airportand the resulting disturbance affecting the properties of local residents.
According to the Court, the runway extension project was subject to numerous detailed impact assessment procedures with public participation and the interested public had had reasonable access to justice for remedies and compensation. As for the argument that the decision-making process was fragmented and the public had had no chance to examine the overall project, the Court found that although the Government has to respect individual interests, it can choose “the ways and means of complying with that obligation”.
Press release available at: http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/eng-press/pages/search.aspx?i=003-4197918-4977240
Note: The Chamber judgment is not final. There is a possibility of appeal to the Grand Chamber during the three-month period following its delivery. French
EU - Court of Justice - Križan and Others (C-416/10) - Judgement. On the occasion of its decision for a preliminary ruling under Article 267 TFEU from the Najvyšší súd Slovenskej republiky (Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic), the Court of Justice of the European Union issued its decision on 15 January 2013.
In 2006, the regional urban planning service of Bratislava (Slovakia) adopted an urban planning decision concerning the establishment of a waste landfill site. The decision was not published. The Slovak environmental inspectorate then initiated the authorization procedure for the contstruction and operation of the landfill, during which residents of Pezikok requested publication of the prior urban planning decision and brought an administrative appeal, but the environmental protection body confirmed the planning decision, and then pursued judicial remedies. The Supreme Court requested the Court of Justice to explain the extent of the public's right to participate in procedures for the authorization of projects having significant effects on the environment.
The Court in its decision of 15 January 2013, stated that the uban planning decision on the establishment of a landfil is one of the measures in the course of the final decision authorizing the installation and includes information on the environmental impact, the conditions that the developer must meet to limit that impact, the objections raised by parties to the urban planning decision and the reasoning of the authoritiy to take its final decision. As such, in the light of the provisions of the Aarhus Convention and the IPPC Directive, "the refusal to make the urban planning decision available to the public cannot be justified by invoking the protection of the confidentiality of commercial or industrial information". The Court also stated that the public concerned should have all the relevant information from the first stage of the administrative procedure. It added that members of the public should have the right to request the adoption of interim measures designed to prevent pollution (according to the IPPC Directive) such as temporary suspension of the permit at issue.
For a press release from the CJCU, see http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2013-01/cp130001en.pdf
Environmental Law webpage of the Environmental Law Research Center of Faculty of Law, Yerevan State University. The newly launched webpage of Environmental Law Research Center (ELRC) of Faculty of Law, Yerevan State University is a dynamic and open academic source sharing material. It provides comprehensive and systematized information on a variety of topics related to Environmental Law. The webpage is available both in English and Armenian and includes the following resources:
- Environmental legislation (national legislation and ratified international treaties);
- Case law;
- Draft legal acts with relevant information on their progress;
- Trainings, open lectures, public hearings and other events;
- Educational material (library, curriculum, presentations and other materials);
- ELRC quarterly e-Newsletter;
- Useful references.
The webpage is designed for decision-makers, environmental NGOs, business, scholars and general public interested in environmental law and protection of the environment. Armenian | English
Armenia - Constitutional Court of Armenia - Decision of the Constitutional Court of Armenia N906 - Summary with the decision text. Key issue: The Constitutional Court of Armenia reviewed the constitutionality of the words "his/her/its" after the word "infringed" stipulated in article 3, paragraph 1 (1), of the Administrative Procedure Code of Armenia. The Court found the abovementioned provisions of the Adiministrative Procedure Code to be in comformity with articles 18 and 19 of the Constitution of Armenia highlighting that actio popularis should be precluded unless there is a legal interest. Future legislative development should take into consideration this position of the Court. Key words: Access to justice, legal standing, actio popularis, sufficient interest, legal interest, impairment of the right, public interest protection, non-governmental organization, abstract claim. Armenian | English
Armenia - Cassation Court of Armenia - Teghout mine case - Summary with the judgement texts . Key issue: Standing for a non-governmental organization – The Cassation Court of Armenia in 2009 stated that Ecoera, environmental non-governmental organization, has access to justice before the court in public environmental litigations. However, in decision dated 2011, the court revised its position finding that the non-governmental organization did not have standing. Key words: access to justice, legal standing, sufficient interest, legal interest, impairment of right, public interest protection, non-governemntal organization, abstract claim. Armenian | English
Armenia - General Jurisdiction Court of First Instance of Syunik Region - 22 residents of the Kapan city v. Armenian Sewerage Compan - Summary with the judgement text. Kye issue: Residents of the Kapan city in Armenia brought a collective lawsuit before the court of first instance against Armenian Sewerage Company, requiring the company to provide for wastewater treatment and discharge in accordance with the agreement as well as to undertake measures to exclude the risk to the environment and the human health. The court accepted and satisfied the claim of the residents. Key words: access to justice, legal standing, members of the public. Armenian | English
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