The Task Force on Access to Justice:
(a) provides a platform for sharing of information, experiences and good practices related to access to justice (through e.g. collection and dissemination of relevant practices and establishment of portal for the relevant jurisprudence);
(b) plans and implements strategic and catalytic capacity-building activities and information exchange, in particular for senior members of the judiciary at the subregional level;
(c) Considers means of facilitating training of trainers on access to justice in environmental matters;
(d) Develops training materials on implementation of article 9 of the Convention that are adaptable to national priorities and the needs of specific groups of legal professionals;
(e) Examines the way the issue of remedies is handled in a selection of representative countries;
(f) Continues the exchange of information and analytical work on criteria for standing;
(g) Continues the exchange of information on practices in establishment of assistance mechanisms to remove or reduce financial barriers;
(h) Considers practical arrangements for increasing support for public interest lawyers and strengthening the capacities of non-governmental organizations;
(i) Identifies good practice with respect to ensuring that sufficient scientific and technical expertise is available to review bodies dealing with environmental cases;
(j) Continues exploring the potential use of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms as a means to further the objectives of the Convention;
(k) Encourages the involvement of representatives of ministries of justice, the judiciary, other legal professionals, including public interest lawyers and non-governmental organizations specializing in litigation and legal advice on environmental matters, in its activities;
(l) Carries out such other tasks related to access to justice as the Working Group of the Parties may assign to the Task Force;
(m) Presents the results of its work for consideration and appropriate action by the Working Group of the Parties.
The Task Force was established pursue to the following decisions of the Meeting of the Parties.
The first meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention (Lucca, Italy 21-23 October 2002) decided to establish a Task Force on Access to Justice to support the implementation of the third pillar of the Convention by inter alia, examining good practices, sharing experience with implementation of particular paragraphs of article 9 of the Convention and assessing the impact of certain barriers in access to justice such as costs and delays. The mandate of the Task Force was completed. More detailed information on the activities of the Task Force in the period of 2002-2005 can be found here.
At their second meeting (Almaty, Kazakhstan, 25-27 May 2005) the Parties adopted decision II/2 on promoting effective access to justice (ENG, FRE, RUS) and established a Task Force to carry out further work with practical focus in relation to the elements of that decision.
The mandate of the Task Force was extended in time by the Meeting of the Parties through decision III/3 on promoting effective access to justice ( ENG, FRE, RUS), adopted at its third meeting (Riga, 11-13 June 2008).
The mandate of the Task Force was extended by the Meeting of the Parties through decision IV/2 on promoting effective access to justice (ENG, FRE, RUS), adopted at its fourth meeting (Chisinau, 29 June - 1 July 2011). The Meeting of the Parties also decided to give access to justice particular priority (see para. 7 of Decision IV/6 on the work programme for 2012-2014 (ECE/MP.PP/2011/2/Add.1).
The mandate of the Task Force was further extended by the Meeting of the Parties through decision V/3 on promoting effective access to justice (ENG, FRE, RUS), adopted at its fifth meeting (Maastricht, the Netherlands, 30 June - 2 July 2014). The Meeting of the Parties also decided to continue giving access to justice particular priority (see para. 7 of Decision V/6 on the work programme for 2015-2017 in ENG FRE and RUS).
The Task Force is currently led by Sweden and chaired by Mr. Jan Darpo.