Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

The introduction of “Actio Popularis” institute can become one of the effective tools of legal protection

July 21, 2020

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HCA Vanadzor presents the research on “The securing of the right of non-governmental organizations to access to justice in the RA”, in which, among recommendations and domestic regulations, the authors also present the results of the study of international practice of non-governmental organizations’ right to apply to court with the matter of public interest protection and matters of public importance. 


In various stages of the development of legal and political relations, in November 2013 and January 2020, HCA Vanadzor repeatedly touched upon the importance of adopting the institute of actio popularis, that is, the right to apply to court for the protection of others’ rights. Nevertheless, so far NGOs have been deprived of the right to apply to court with matters of public importance and restricted to applying to courts in the sphere of environmental protection in the frame of their beneficiaries’ legal protection.  


In terms of the right to apply to court for the protection of others’ rights (actio popularis), questions on procedural legal subjectivity of NGOs continue to remain unsolved in the Republic of Armenia, despite the condition that back in 2010, the Constitutional Court outlined the directions of expanding procedural legal subjectivity of NGOs. 


After the Velvet Revolution in 2018, in the current stage of democratic developments, one of the state’s priorities in the process of formation, establishment and strengthening of democratic institutes should be the expansion of the role of NGOs in the sphere of human rights protection. Such efforts would ensure real mechanisms of civil society institutes’ participation in and civil oversight over decision-making.


The study of international practice of applying to court for the protection of others’ rights shows that as compared to Armenia’s practice, this institute operates in European countries in all the spheres of human rights protection on a large scale.


Guided by the intention to increase efficiency of public oversight over state governance and local self-government bodies and based on Constitutional Court decision No CC-906 and modern European development trends, it is necessary to develop legal regulations, fully in line with modern international standards and stemming from the international obligations undertaken by the Republic of Armenia, on reserving for NGOs the right to apply to court with public issues. The study was presented to the RA National Assembly and RA Ministry of Justice. 


The full text of the research is available HERE (in Armenian)

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