Another conclusion of the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court – disputes, in which an NGO substitutes a governmental authority, are within jurisdiction of the administrative courts.1
The Grand Chamber of the SC has established that International Charitable Organization “Environment-People-Law”, as an NGO, is entitled to take legal action in order to remedy breaches of the requirements of the environmental law. At the same time, as when filing such lawsuit, EPL in fact substitutes the governmental authorities what concerns control over observation of the environmental law, such dispute is of a public and legal character. Therefore, it should be resolved in the administrative legal proceedings. Such conclusion was made by the SC taking into account the peculiarities of the environmental law.
According to the Constitution of Ukraine every person has a right to a safe and healthy environment, and to compensation for damage caused by infringement of this right. Environmental interests can be subject to judicial protection, ownership may not cause damage to rights, freedoms and dignity of people and interests of the society, or worsen the environmental situation and natural qualities of land, no one may cause damage to the environment.
In Ukraine, environmental protection, efficient use of natural resources, ensuring environmental safety for human vital activity is an integral condition for the sustainable economic and social development of our country.
Activities of a natural person or a legal entity causing the environmental destruction, damage or pollution are illegal. That means everyone has a right to request such activity to be ceased. At the same time, according to the environmental law both activity causing damage to the environment, and activity conducted with breach of law are subject to be ceased through legal action.
Thus, the public character of the dispute is stipulated by not so much damage to the environment as breach of the norms of the constitutional and environmental law, which warrants the ownership right of the Ukrainian people to natural resources, and its derivative right for everyone to general and special use of natural resources.