Access to justice constitutes one of the three pillars of the UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (the Aarhus Convention). It is set out in article 9 of the Convention and is one of the most important prerequisites for effective public participation in environmental decision-making and thus effective environmental protection and the rule of law.
Through decision VI/3 (ENG, FRE, RUS), the Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention welcomed the establishment of a network of the judiciary, judicial training institutions and other review bodies in the pan-European region under the auspices of the Task Force to promote the exchange of experiences in access to justice and the enforcement of the rule of law in environmental matters, and encourages the cooperation of the network with networks of other legal professionals. The Meeting of the Parties also invited Parties and signatories to support the participation of representatives of the judiciary, judicial training institutions and other review bodies in the network, invites other such networks to participate in this initiative and calls on partner organizations to support the initiative.
Capacity-building activities related to access to justice, including workshops and trainings, are given particular priority in the Work Programme for 2018-2021 adopted by the Meeting of the Parties at its sixth session. Primarily nowadays these activities are aimed at supporting legal professionals, especially members of judiciary bodies and public interests lawyers.
Judicial Colloquium, Geneva 3-4 April 2023
Judicial Colloquium "Adjudication of cases related to climate change and air quality", Geneva, 27-28 April 2022
Judicial Colloquium "“SDG16: Role of Judiciary in Promoting the Rule of Law in Environmental Matters”, Geneva, 27-28 February 2019
High-level Judicial workshop on Access to Justice in Environmental Matters for the Central Asian subregion, Almaty, Kazakhstan, 22 and 23 May 2012
High-level Judicial seminar on Access to Justice in Environmental Matters for the South Eastern European subregion, Tirana, Albania, 16-18 November 2008
High-level Judicial seminar on Access to Justice in Environmental Matters for Eastern Europe and South Caucasus subregions, Kyiv, Ukraine, 4-5 June 2007
Workshop on Access to Justice, Tallinn, Estonia, 17-19 September 2001
Capacity-building resource material
Key Guidance Material for the Aarhus Convention
Aarhus Clearinghouse, including library on protection of environmental defenders
Movie about the Aarhus Convention
E-learning Introductory Course: SDG16 and Access Rights, the Aarhus Convention and the Escazu Agreement
Training material by partner organizations
Training modules for judges and prosecutors on EU Environmental Law