ELC launches public interest standing project

ELC launches public interest standing project

“Standing”:   Basically the right to a hearing.  Greatly in need of law reform.

•  Are you a lawyer for parties that represent public viewpoints?
•  Are you that party, whether environmental watchdog or concerned citizen?
•  Have you had trouble participating in board hearings?

The Environmental Law Centre has been funded by the Max Bell Foundation to promote improvements to the law of standing in Alberta.  The focus is on administrative boards that consider the environment and determine the public interest.

This project is for you, and we need your help.

 

Consider that:

•  Parties who are directly affected may or may not represent public interests;
•  Parties who represent public interests may or may not be directly affected;
•  Parties without standing can be allowed to participate in some way.

Participant roles are often determined with no hearing, making this an imprecise area of law. It also means that the ELC needs to hear about what doesn’t appear in decision documents.

 

You can participate in this project by:

•  Replying to this blog post
•  Emailing Adam Driedzic, ELC Staff Counsel at adriedzic@elc.ab.ca
•  Calling Adam at 780-424-5099

 

What will I be asked?

We would ask you:

  • Has your group been denied standing where you feel standing was warranted?
  • How receptive was the board to your party, your arguments, or your evidence?
  • What was the impact of the standing decision on the proceedings and the outcome?
  • What kind of knowledge or experience could your group have added to the proceedings?

Real stories and examples will be useful.

 

How will my comments be used?

Individual comments will be consolidated to remove identifiers. The net results will help the ELC determine:

  • The extent to which reasonable representatives of public viewpoints are being denied standing;
  • How the board proceedings and outcomes could differ if these parties had standing;
  • The level of support for some form of genuine interest standing;
  • The extent to which such a standing tool would get used if it were available.

The ELC will then pursue a year of research on the connection between public interest decision making and standing, comparing the situation in Alberta to other jurisdictions.  The findings will be published and followed by a conference for lawyers, environmental groups, and advocates pursuing the standing issue.  This blog post is your invitation to inform the project at the front end.

 

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