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Brussels, 24 November 2010

Environment: Commission closes case on access to justice against Ireland

Following action by the Irish authorities, the Commission, on a recommendation by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, is closing a non-communication case on absence of certain access to justice rules.

The case being closed concerns a 16 July 2009 ruling of the European Court of Justice in which the Court found that Ireland had failed to transpose into national law changes to the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (85/337/EEC), including provisions on public participation in the decision-making process and access to justice.

Amongst other matters, the lack of transposition related to a requirement that information on review procedures should be made available to the public and that access to the Irish courts should not be prohibitively expensive for citizens and NGOs.

Ireland has since adopted and notified new legislation under which, in future disputes concerning environmental impact assessment, an unsuccessful environmental litigant will generally not be required to pay the costs of the other side. The Commission is therefore closing the case.

The dispute related solely to an absence of measures and the Commission will now look at whether the Irish legislation fully meets the requirements of the Directive.

For more details on infringement procedures in general, see MEMO/10/605

For current statistics on infringements in general see:

For further information

See study on implementation of environmental access to justice rules in Member States:

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