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

Popular non-discrimination legal guide updated
21/03/2018

Popular non-discrimination legal guide updated

Building on the widely popular practical handbook on European non-discrimination law, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the European Court of Human Rights have just published an update.
23/02/2018

Practical training in Riga on procedural safeguards

The Agency chaired various panels at the Academy of European Law's (ERA) event on Procedural Safeguards - practical training for the daily practice of legal practitioners in Riga on 15 and 16 February.
Grant victims access to justice to realise their fundamental rights too
22/02/2018

Grant victims access to justice to realise their fundamental rights too

Millions of people in the EU fall victim to crime every year. On European Day for Victims of Crime on 22 February, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights calls on Member States to ensure the rights of victims take centre stage. Only then will they truly have access to the justice that they deserve and are entitled to.

Latest projects View all

Status: 
Ongoing

Severe labour exploitation – workers’ perspectives (SELEX II)

The project looks at the experiences and views of foreign workers in selected EU countries who have experienced criminal forms of labour exploitation. It fills an important gap by extending the evidence beyond the views of professionals who deal with labour exploitation; this was covered in an earlier project.
Status: 
Findings available

The right to interpretation and translation and the right to information in criminal proceedings in the EU

What happens when a person suspected or accused of a crime faces criminal proceedings in a language they do not understand? How are suspects or persons accused of a criminal offence informed about their rights in criminal proceedings? This project looks into issues surrounding the right to interpretation and translation and the right to information in criminal proceedings in the EU.
Status: 
Findings available

Rehabilitation and mutual recognition – practice concerning EU law on transfer of persons sentenced or awaiting trial (Prison and Detention)

A person who is suspected or accused of a crime or who has already been sentenced can be transferred between Member States under EU law. What are the fundamental rights concerns in this context? This project looks into issues surrounding alternatives to detention and imprisonment – pre- and post-trial, as well as on the transfer of prisoners, as covered by three EU Framework Decisions in the area of criminal justice.

Latest publications View all

Handbook on European non-discrimination law – 2018 edition
March
2018

Handbook on European non-discrimination law – 2018 edition

Handbook
European non-discrimination law, as constituted in particular by the EU non-discrimination directives, and Article 14 of and Protocol 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights, prohibits discrimination across a range of contexts and grounds. This handbook examines European non-discrimination law stemming from these two sources as complementary systems, drawing on them interchangeably to the extent that they overlap, while highlighting differences where these exist.
Fundamental Rights Report 2017
May
2017

Fundamental Rights Report 2017

Annual report
Diverse efforts at both EU and national levels sought to bolster fundamental rights protection in 2016, while some measures threatened to undermine such protection.
Fundamental Rights Report 2017 - FRA opinions
May
2017

Fundamental Rights Report 2017 - FRA opinions

Annual report
Diverse efforts at both EU and national levels sought to bolster fundamental rights protection in 2016, while some measures threatened to undermine such protection.