Environmental Lawsuits – right of all of us to protect our environment

November 28, 2018

viber-image-150x112 in BCHR’s conference entitled “Environmental Lawsuits – right of all of us to protect our environment” discussed protection of the right to a healthy environment under civil law and were familiarised with the Handbook on environmental lawsuits with recommendations for experts and Guidance on filing environmental lawsuits for civic associations and the general public.

The following panellists participated in the conference:

  • Ivan Karić – State Secretary of the Ministry of Environmental Protection
  • Prof Dr Vesna Rakić Vodinelić –Law Professor Emeritus
  • Prof Dr Monika Milošević – Union University Law School Professor
  • Dr Aleksa Radonjić – author of the publications
  • Ivana Stjelja – author of the publications

The Handbook with the recommendations is available in Serbian at here.

Guidance for CSOs and the general public is available in Serbian at here.

The authors of the publications presented their recommendations on the amendments to Serbian law that need to be made to improve the effectiveness of environmental lawsuits in the interest of the citizens and their associations, including: to establish a rebuttable presumption of law that harm to the environment is harm an indeterminate number of people; specify that liability for the harm is objective and that the lawsuits under Article 156(1) of the Law of Contracts and Torts may be filed by individuals not belonging to the indeterminate number of people threatened by the harm; introduce special civil proceedings in which environmental lawsuits will be reviewed; facilitate access to justice to citizens and NGOs filing environmental lawsuits effectively protecting public interest; lay down that appeals of decisions ordering interim measures in environmental cases do not have suspensive effect and that such measures may be ordered by the court ex officio, etc.

About the Project

With the support of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the BCHR implemented the project “Environmental Lawsuits” in the July-November 2018 period to promote CSO and civic engagement in environmental protection. The project promoted “environmental lawsuits” as the model for protecting the human right to a healthy environment, with a view to improving cooperation between the citizens and decision makers, and deepening their understanding of the valid regulations providing mechanisms for the protection of the right to a healthy environment.

There are no records that the “environmental lawsuit” institute has ever been applied in Serbia since it was introduced back in 1978. Therefore, this project was implemented to provide policy proposals, including recommendations on how to improve the legislative framework and practice in the field of the right to a healthy environment. Two round tables were held with the relevant stakeholders on the handbooks familiarising experts, CSOs and ordinary citizens with their fundamental rights and mechanisms for protecting their right to a health environment. The publications were presented at the closing conference.