Public Participation Organized by Law: Promising Principles and Cautious Implementation

Democracy and Participation: A Review of Existing Knowledge
By Gérard Monédiaire

The law on public participation is analyzed here in respect to environmental and town planning issues, where participative democracy has led to the adoption of various judicial procedures. This study examines the contributions of international, European, and French law, emphasizing the dynamics between these various sources, as well as the difference between civil law and common law systems. Two periods are also distinguished; the first concerning public participation during decision-making, the second involving participation once the law is in effect. A further distinction is made between judicial procedures that affect the decision-making process and those that do not. Finally, we identify the judicial procedures that promote debate on either the necessity of a project or its feasibility.


  • Aarhus convention
  • information law
  • participation law
  • transparency
  • confidence
  • accountability
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