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Resource Centre > Key Players > UN

The UN is involved in issues to access to justice and civil justice through the following initiatives:

  • through the work of the UN Economic Commission for Europe and the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making, and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters of 25 June 1998 (http://www.unece.org/env/pp/welcome.html). The 'third pillar' of the Convention is access to justice – aiming at empowering organisations and individuals to enforce environmental law – "The Convention requires Parties to provide access to administrative or judicial procedures to challenge acts and omissions by private persons and public authorities which breach laws relating to the environment. Such access is to be provided to members of the public 'where they meet the criteria, if any, laid down in national law' - in other words, the issue of standing is primarily to be determined at national level, as is the question of whether the procedures are judicial or administrative. The procedures (…) are required to be 'fair, equitable, timely and not prohibitively expensive'." (http://www.unece.org/env/pp/contentAJ.htm)
  • through the recent initiatives undertaken by the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative and Human Rights, together with the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman of the World Bank Group, the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School, and the International Bar Association – establishing a database on non-judicial mechanisms of resolving disputes between businesses and society (http://www.baseswiki.org/En). This project is in its very early stages, but its aims are to establish a very comprehensive web-based hub of information and expertise on ADR schemes across the world (including ‘national contact points’, where information on ADR schemes in a particular country will be available). Various members of the International Bar Association are involved in researching ADR schemes in their jurisdictions. The results of their research are to be published on the website.