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NUMERO 9 - 25/04/2018

 Access to Justice for Environmental Associations in Italy

Access to justice for environmental associations in Italy has undergone a significant evolution in the last three decades. Currently, associations have locus standi to bring suits in defense of environmental interests in one of two ways: 1. they meet criteria set by the Ministry of the Environment and successfully apply to the same for recognition under art. 13 l. 8 July 1986 n. 349; 2. they are deemed to meet the requirements for qualification as a local environmental association found in the jurisprudence of the Consiglio di Stato, and they seek to protect environmental interests relating to the territory in which they operate. Both national and local environmental associations must demonstrate that they are representative of the greater interest for the protection of the environmental good under dispute, including showing that they have undertaken public activities over time and, for local associations, that they were not founded for the purpose of litigation. An analysis of the practice of the administrative courts and the Ministry of the Environment shows that these criteria may be setting a high bar for access to justice, both due to the criteria as well as the length of the bureaucratic procedure for obtaining recognition under l. 8 July 1986 n. 349. Costs and expenses, as well as the practice of the administrative jurisdictions in granting legal aid, may also constitute a significant barrier to access to justice for both national and local environmental associations... (segue)



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