Public Participation
The Applicant had applied to judicially review a decision approving a roadway, on the ground that it was not conditional on remediation in the event it had a worse than expected effect on an area of special conservation. The Applicant also raised an issue as to the proper transposition of an EU environmental directive,the Directive 2003/35/EC that provides for public participation in respect of the drawing up of certain plans and programmes relating to the environment. The High Court refused leave. The question in issue is whether the process of judicial review available in the Irish courts is sufficient to meet the obligations on Ireland under Article 10a of the Directive, that recognise the right to a review procedure before a court of law or other independent and impartial body established by law, to challenge the substantive or procedure legality of decisions, acts or omissions subject to the public participation provisions. The High Court awarded the unsuccessful Applicant half his costs and made no order of costs in favour of the Respondent. The parties agreed that the Applicant was acting in the public interest. However the issue around remediation was not of sufficient public importance to justify deviation from the ordinary rule of costs. That said, the issue as to transposition of the EU directive did raise significant points of law and contributed to the jurisprudence on the topic. The High Court awarded the unsuccessful Applicant partial costs and noted that the fact an applicant had a "substantial interest" in the matter should not necessarily be a bar for special cost orders.