Access to justice in environmental matters


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The sanctions for the administrative authority for not responding within the prescribed term have been described above. When a decision is not provided before the end of the term provided by law, or when no term is provided within eight weeks after the request, the applicant will have to send a notice of default and allow the administrative authority another two weeks to decide. If a decision still is not taken after those two weeks, there are two consequences. First, for each day after that term the administrative authority will have to pay a penalty to the applicant for each day that no decision is made (with a maximum of EUR 1,442). Second, the applicant can ask the court for judicial review in order to force the administrative authority to come up with a decision. That court procedure will be about the question of whether the administrative authority did indeed not decide within the provided time frame and the procedure must take no more than eight weeks. If the conclusion by the court is indeed that no decision was made before the deadline, the court will order the administrative authority to take the decision within a two-week period and will award a penalty for each day that a decision still has not been taken after those two weeks.

If an administrative authority does not comply with a judgment of an administrative court, it will be most likely be the case that no decision is taken. Judicial review will be available for an interested party when the time frame for taking a decision has passed (see above in paragraph 1.8.2). If a natural person or a legal person does not comply with the judgment of the administrative court, it will most likely be the case that this person acts in violation of administrative law, in accordance with a suspended permit or in violation of the conditions of his permit. Therefore, an interested party may request enforcement measures with the competent administrative authority, which is - in general - entitled to take enforcement action (either an administrative order to take physical action or instead impose on the offender a duty backed by a penalty payment).

Last update: 27/07/2021

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