The Supreme Administrative Court of Finland in Helsinki. LEHTIKUVA

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This week, judges from the Association of Councils of State and Supreme Administrative Jurisdictions of the European Union (ACA-Europe) have converged in Inari, Finland, for a pivotal seminar and annual meeting. From May 26 to 28, 2024, these legal minds are delving into the complex interplay of fundamental rights within the multilevel system of international human rights conventions, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, and national constitutions.

The event kicked off with a symposium on Arctic climatic and environmental issues, organized in collaboration with the Sámi Parliament of Finland, highlighting the unique challenges faced in this region.

Today's seminar features a keynote address by Niilo Jääskinen, Judge of the European Court of Justice. Jääskinen will explore how the fundamental principles of EU environmental law shape the responsibilities and obligations of national administrative courts, drawing on the latest legal practices within the European Union.

Central to the seminar is the presentation of findings from an extensive survey on how ACA-Europe member courts apply their national constitutional frameworks of fundamental rights, and how these intersect with the broader European system of rights protection.

The three-day event is structured around several key components: a Board meeting of ACA-Europe, a jurisprudential seminar for members, a general assembly, and cultural and nature-based activities designed to acquaint attendees with the local environment.

Approximately 60 chief justices, chairs, and judges from ACA-Europe member courts are participating, reflecting the high level of engagement and the importance of the topics under discussion.

ACA-Europe aims to enhance the understanding of European law among administrative judges and to foster knowledge about the operations of Europe’s supreme administrative courts. The association regularly organizes seminars and undertakes research on relevant case-law, with its activities being partially funded by the European Commission.

The Supreme Administrative Court of Finland, which has held the two-year presidency of ACA-Europe since June 2023, has prioritized fostering dialogue between national supreme administrative courts and the Court of Justice of the European Union, and examining the national impacts of European Court of Human Rights decisions.

This gathering in Inari underscores the commitment of Europe’s top administrative judges to navigating the complexities of fundamental rights in a constantly evolving legal landscape.

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