Divisions

Legal Services

National Environment Commission is the custodian of major environmental laws and the legal office is imperative in ensuring effective implementation and enforcement of these laws. Currently, the following national legislations and regulations are under the custody of the NEC:
 
  1. Environmental Assessment Act, 2000
  2. National Environment Protection Act of Bhutan 2007
  3. Waste Prevention and Management Act of Bhutan, 2009
  4. The Water Act of Bhutan 2011
  5. Regulation on Strategic Environmental Assessment 2002
  6. Regulation for Environmental Clearance of Projects 2016 
  7. Waste Prevention and Management Regulation, 2012 and Amendment, 2016
  8. The Water Regulation of Bhutan, 2014
  9. Regulation on Control of Ozone Depleting Substances 2008
 
There are guidelines, standards, standard operating procedures, forms under the purview of these laws. 
 
Furthermore, NECS is a national focal agency to several Multilateral and Bilateral Environmental Agreements such as United Nations Framework on Climate Change, Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement, Convention on Biodiversity and its Protocol, Vienna Convention and its protocol, Basel Convention, Male Declaration on Control and Prevention of Air Pollution and its Likely Transboundary Effects for South Asia. 
 
With numerous and diverse national legislations and MEAs, the mandates of the Legal Services is vast and cross sectoral.

Mandates 
 
  •  Provide legal advice on substantive and procedural questions of law and matters related to interpretation of laws. 
  •  Formulate/review/revise/amend environmental related Acts, Regulations, Standards, guidelines in coordination with concerned technical divisions. 
  • Carry out awareness and sensitization programs on environmental laws. 
  • Assist in formulation/revision of guidelines, memorandum of understanding, announcements, notifications, circulars and other legal related documents.. 
  • Provide advice on different legal issues and assist in drafting legal opinions, memoranda and other legal documents.
  • Conduct legal research by utilizing various resources and selecting the relevant material to analyze the legal information.
  • Provide support in the ratification and implementation of MEAs.  
  • Represent NECS on all legal matters both at national and international meetings and workshops.
  • Handle prosecution and defense cases and provide opinions/evidence on environmental cases before the court. 
  • Assess appeals cases related to environmental clearance, waste, water and other matters.
  • Assist in issues related to application and renewal of environmental clearances and compliance.
  • Provide assistance in the resolution of environmental clearance and water related disputes.

The Legal Services also acts as the National Ozone Unit
 
Bhutan is a party to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of Ozone Layer and Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The National Ozone Unit was established as an integral part of the NECS in order to implement the obligations under these instruments.
 
The roles and responsibilities carried out by the National Ozone Unit are as follows:
  • Provide technical advice to the NEC on policies related to the ozone depleting substances and hydrofluorocarbons;
  • Provide technical advice to the National Ozone Committee on matters related to to the ozone depleting substances and hydrofluorocarbons;
  •  Formulate, implement and review strategies and action plans for phasing out of ODS and phasing down of HFCs;
  • Coordinate, assess and analyze the consumption of controlled substances;
  • Implement the annual consumption quota of controlled substances in accordance with the obligations under the Montreal Protocol;
  • Maintain a registry of importers of controlled substances and products containing HFC;
  • Review and assess the application for the import/export of controlled substances and decide on the issuance of permit;
  •  Carry out inspection of any premises or products where controlled substances are used or believed to be used in collaboration with relevant agencies;
  • Promote and create public awareness on controlled substances; 
  • Coordinate programs on capacity building of stakeholders on the controlled substances;
  • Prepare and submit timely reports in accordance with the obligation under the Montreal Protocol;
  • Organize commemoration of the World Ozone Day
  • Act as member secretary to the Ozone Technical Committee 
  • Review rules and regulations on controlled substances form time to time
  • Provide day-to-day clarification to any inquiries on the controlled substances.
  • Carry out any other functions necessary for the implementation of the Vienna Convention, Montreal Protocol under the guidance of the NEC Secretariat.