Access to justice

Access to justice is a core fundamental right and a central concept in the broader field of justice. However, it is a right that faces a number of challenges throughout the EU.

While access to justice typically means having a case heard in a court of law, it can more broadly be achieved or supported through mechanisms such as national human rights institutions, equality bodies and ombudsman institutions, as well as the European Ombudsman at EU level. Yet, FRA research shows that access to justice is problematic in a number of EU Member States. This is due to several factors, including a lack of rights awareness and poor knowledge about the tools that are available to access justice (see EU-MIDIS, in particular Data in Focus report 3: Rights Awareness).

Drawing on its research findings, the Agency seeks to provide evidence-based advice to policy makers at EU and national level in order to improve awareness of and access to justice. This includes the provision of information about how to remove existing obstacles that hinder people’s ability to access justice, including groups such as children and migrants.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union guarantees the right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial, including legal aid to those who lack sufficient resources. At the same time, access to justice is also an enabling  right that allows those who perceive their rights as having been violated to enforce them and seek redress.

Victims’ rights and support

Explore the mapping of victims’ rights and support in the EU online >> 

Maps and tables allow users to view some of the key aspects related to support services for victims of crime.

 

Latest news View all

09/11/2018

ETUC discusses FRA’s severe labour exploitation work

On 30 October, the Agency presented the major findings of its work on severe labour exploitation at a meeting of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) Permanent Committee on mobility, migration and inclusion in Brussels.

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Applying the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union in law and policymaking at national level - Guidance
October
2018

Applying the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union in law and policymaking at national level - Guidance

Handbook
As a very modern human rights catalogue containing many rights not found in established bills of rights, the Charter indeed looks good on paper. Those familiar with the main principles of EU law can usually quickly recite that the Charter is always binding on the EU, and binding on Member States only when they are "implementing EU law". But what does this often-quoted language from Article 51 of the Charter actually mean?
Protecting migrant workers from exploitation in the EU: boosting workplace inspections
September
2018

Protecting migrant workers from exploitation in the EU: boosting workplace inspections

Report
Severe labour exploitation is widespread across the European Union. While workplace inspections can help counter this phenomenon, they need to be strengthened to do so effectively. Based on interviews and focus group discussions with almost 240 exploited workers active in diverse economic sectors, this report provides important evidence on how unscrupulous employers manipulate and undermine inspections, and on what can be done to counteract such efforts.
Making EU citizens’ rights a reality: national courts enforcing freedom of movement and related rights
August
2018

Making EU citizens’ rights a reality: national courts enforcing freedom of movement and related rights

Report
The founding treaties, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and secondary EU law all provide for EU citizens’ freedom to move and reside freely in any EU country of their choice. Growing numbers of citizens, and their family members, are making use of this freedom and related rights, such as the right not to be discriminated against based on nationality and the right to vote in certain elections in the host Member State. But making these rights a reality remains a challenge. This report presents an EU-wide, comparative overview of the application of the Free Movement Directive (2004/38/EC) across the 28 Member States based on a review of select case law at national level.