E.U. -- Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law(Complaint procedures and Access to Justice for citizens and NGO`s)

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The European Union Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law is an informal network of the environmental authorities of EU Member States. The European Commission is also a member of IMPEL and shares the chairmanship of management meetings.

The network is commonly known as the IMPEL Network

The expertise and experience of the participants within IMPEL make the network uniquely qualified to work on certain of the technical and regulatory aspects of EU environmental legislation. The Network’s objective is to create the necessary impetus in the European
Community to make progress on ensuring a more effective application of environmental legislation. It promotes the exchange of information and experience and the development of greater consistency of approach in the implementation, application and enforcement of environmental legislation, with special emphasis on Community environmental legislation. It provides a framework for policy makers, environmental inspectors and enforcement officers to exchange ideas, and encourages the development of enforcement structures and best practices.

Information on the IMPEL Network is also available through its web site at http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/impel.

This report is the result of a project within the IMPEL Network. The content does not necessarily represent the view of the national administrations or the Commission. The report was adopted during the IMPEL Meeting of 24-26 May 2000.


Part I (page 3)
Introduction and purpose of the project
1. Introduction
2. Scope and Purpose
3. Preparation of the workshop
4. Structure of this report
Part II (page 7)
Developments in the field of Access to Justice and identification of the main questions
1. Developments in the field of Access to Justice
2. Identification of the main questions

Part III (page 13)
Complaint procedures and access to justice at the Member States level:
The Key-Issues to be discussed at the May workshop
1. Introduction
2. The selected Key-Issues:
a) Who has access to procedures to challenge authorisations of activities that may harm the
b) Access to complaint procedures and access to justice to challenge plans, programmes and
general regulations
c) Possibilities for the public to ensure compliance with environmental law, in particular by
forcing administrative enforcement or initiating criminal prosecution in case of violations
of national (environmental) law.
d) Adequate and effective remedies
e) Establishment of appropriate assistance mechanisms to remove or reduce financial and
other barriers to access to justice

Part IV (page 30)
Access to Justice for Citizens and NGOs on Community Level
1. Introduction
2. Procedures to challenge decisions/acts of Member States
3. Problems concerning the complaints procedure
4. Complaints related to decisions or acts of the Community institutions
5. Stichting Greenpeace Council and Others v Commission
6. For the discussion

1. National Reports of all EU-Member States (page 40)
2. Report of the mid-term meeting, 1 February 2000, Brussels (page 130)
3. Text of Article 9 of the Aarhus Convention (page 133)
4. Text of the ECE-Aarhus Implementation Handbook related to Article 9 (page 135)
5. Executive summary and paragraph 4.7 of the white paper of the European Commission on
environmental liability (page 154)
6. Conclusions of the workshop (page 158)
7. Report of the workshop (page 164)

Date of the Resource: 
Monday, May 1, 2000
Countries and Regions: 
Resource Type: