PUBLIC INQUIRIES
LexInter | April 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

PUBLIC INQUIRIES

ENVIRONMENTAL CODE (Legislative Part)

Section 1: Scope and object of the public inquiry

Article L123-1

(Law n ° 2002-276 of February 27, 2002 art. 138 Official Journal of February 28, 2002)   I – The realization of improvements, works or works carried out by public or private persons is preceded by a public inquiry subject to the prescriptions of this chapter, when, by reason of their nature, their consistency or the character of the affected areas, these operations are likely to affect the environment. The list of the categories of operations referred to in the previous paragraph and the technical thresholds and criteria used to define them are set by decrees of the Council of State. These thresholds or criteria can be modulated to take into account the sensitivity of the environment and the areas which benefit from legislative or regulatory protection for the environment.
II – The decision to open the public inquiry on the project of a local authority, a group of local authorities or one of the public establishments depending on it is taken by the president of the deliberative body of the community or institution. However, when the investigation is prior to a declaration of public utility, the decision is taken by the competent authority of the State.

Article L123-2

   When laws and regulations subject the approval of town planning documents or the operations mentioned in Article L. 123-1 to a specific public inquiry procedure, the rules governing these inquiries remain applicable to the extent that they are not applicable. not contrary to the provisions of this chapter.
Work carried out with a view to preventing serious and immediate danger is excluded from the scope of this chapter.

Article L123-3

   The purpose of the survey mentioned in Article L. 123-1 is to inform the public and to collect their assessments, suggestions and counter-proposals, after the impact study when it is required, in order to allow the competent authority to have all the elements necessary for its information.
Section 2: Procedure and conduct of the public inquiry

Article L123-4

   The investigation referred to in Article L. 123-1 is conducted, depending on the nature and size of the operations, by an investigating commissioner or a commission of inquiry appointed by the president of the administrative tribunal or the member of the tribunal delegated by him for this purpose.
A list of aptitudes is drawn up for each department by a commission chaired by the president of the administrative tribunal or the magistrate he delegates. This list is made public and is subject to at least one annual review.
The president of the administrative tribunal appoints the investigation commissioner or the members of the investigation commission from among the persons appearing on the suitable lists. His choice is not limited to the lists of departments falling within the jurisdiction of the court.

Article L123-5

   At the request of the investigating commissioner or the chairman of the inquiry commission and when the specificities of the investigation so require, the chairman of the administrative tribunal or the magistrate he or she delegates may appoint an expert to assist the inquiry commissioner. or the chairman of the commission of inquiry. The cost of this expertise is the responsibility of the client.

Article L123-6

   Persons interested in the operation in a personal capacity or by reason of their functions, in particular within the community, body or service which ensures the investigation cannot be appointed as investigating commissioners or as members of the commission of inquiry. project management, project management or control of the operation under investigation.
The provisions of the preceding paragraph may be extended, under the conditions set by decree of the Council of State, to persons who have held these positions.

Article L123-7

  At least fifteen days before the opening of the investigation and during it, the competent authority brings to the attention of the public, by all appropriate means of posting, in particular on the places concerned by the investigation, and, according to the importance and nature of the project, in the written press or audiovisual communication, the subject of the investigation, the names and qualities of the investigating commissioner or members of the investigation commission, the opening date, the place of the investigation and its duration.
The duration of the investigation cannot be less than one month.
By reasoned decision, the inquiry commissioner or the chairman of the inquiry committee may extend the

Article L123-8

   Notwithstanding the provisions of Title I of Law No. 78-753 of July 17, 1978 on various measures to improve relations between the administration and the public and various administrative, social and fiscal provisions, the investigation file can be communicated to environmental protection associations approved under Article L. 141-1 and at their expense.

Article L123-9

(Law n ° 2002-276 of February 27, 2002 art. 141 Official Journal of February 28, 2002)

The investigating commissioner or the chairman of the commission of inquiry conducts the investigation in such a way as to allow the public to gain a full understanding of the project and to present their assessments, suggestions and counter-proposals.
He receives the contracting authority for the operation subject to public inquiry.
It may receive all documents, visit the places concerned, with the exception of the places of residence, after prior informing the owners and occupants by the competent authority, hear all persons whose hearing it deems useful and summon the client or his representatives as well as the administrative authorities concerned.
He can organize, under his chairmanship, an information and discussion meeting with the public in the presence of the client.
Subject to the provisions of Article L. 123-15, the contracting authority communicates to the public the existing documents that the investigation commissioner or the chairman of the investigation commission deems useful for the proper information of the public. In case of refusal of communication opposed by the client, his reasoned answer is added to the investigation file.
The commissioner of inquiry or the commission of inquiry is at the disposal of persons or representatives of associations who request to be heard.

Article L123-10

   The report and the reasoned conclusions of the investigating commissioner or the commission of inquiry are made public. The report must state the counter-proposals which were produced during the investigation as well as any responses from the client, in particular to requests for the communication of documents addressed to him.

Article L123-11

   When an operation subject to an administrative authorization must be the subject of a public inquiry governed by this chapter, this authorization can only result from an explicit decision.

Article L123-12

(Ordinance n ° 2000-914 of September 18, 2000 art. 12 2 ° Official Journal of September 21, 2000 in force on January 1, 2001)   The administrative judge for summary proceedings, seized of a request for the suspension of a decision taken after unfavorable conclusions from the investigating commissioner or the commission of inquiry, grant this request if it includes an appropriate means to create, by state of the investigation, a serious doubt as to the legality of this one.
The provisions of the preceding paragraph also apply when a decision has been taken without the public inquiry required by this chapter having taken place.
Any project of a local authority or of a group of local authorities having given rise to unfavorable conclusions by the investigating commissioner or the commission of inquiry must be the subject of a deliberation by the deliberative body of the local authority or of the group concerned.

Article L123-13

   When the developments or works which have been the subject of a public inquiry have not been undertaken within five years of the decision, a new inquiry is required, unless an extension of five years at most is decided before the expiry of this period under conditions set by decree of the Council of State.
This article does not preclude the application of more restrictive provisions provided for by the regulations specific to each operation.

Article L123-14

(Law n ° 2002-276 of February 27, 2002 art. 142 Official Journal of February 28, 2002)

The contracting authority bears the costs of the investigation, in particular the compensation of the investigating commissioners and members of the investigation commissions, as well as the costs incurred by the provision of the investigation commissioner or the commission of inquiry the material resources necessary for the organization and conduct of the inquiry procedure.
Seized of a request in this direction by the investigating commissioner or the president of the commission of inquiry, the president of the administrative tribunal or the magistrate which he designates for this purpose orders the payment by the contracting authority of a provision of which it defines the amount. The public inquiry can only be opened
A Council of State decree determines the conditions under which, for the purposes of guaranteeing the independence of the investigating commissioners and members of the investigation commissions, the rules for their compensation and the terms of payment by the investigators are set. contracting authorities of the sums corresponding to the interested parties.

Article L123-15

   The conduct of the investigation must be carried out in accordance with national defense secrecy, industrial secrecy and any secrecy protected by law.

Article L123-16

 The modalities of application of this chapter, in particular the maximum deadlines and the conditions of dates and times of the investigation, are fixed by decrees in the Council of State.

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